Skip to main content

Full text of "The Great Condé, a life of Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé"

See other formats


Cj^rc^^b (O<mud^6 -i 

t bv tJ-vc ii 

(f <f 

Jirvi&ri, cvb ^y 









All rights reserved 

Question. What do you say concerning valour and 

courage ? 
Answer. I say, it is a most noble and heroicall 

vertue, that makes some men differ 

from others, as much as all men 

differ from beasts. 

The Souldiers Catechism^ 1644. 


I TAKE this opportunity of expressing my most sincere 
thanks to all who have helped me in my work. For the 
practical kindness and courtesy shown by M. Macon, 
Curator of Chantilly, and guardian of its priceless 
archives, I cannot be too grateful. To M. Omont, of 
the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, I owe a like acknow- 
ledgment for his unfailing and ready help during my 
study of the manuscripts under his charge. In the parts 
of the work relating to military matters, I have had 
invaluable assistance from Major-General Sir Alexander 
Godley, K.C.M.G. ; while the passages dealing with con- 
temporary history have been kindly read and criticised 
by Mr. Geoffrey Headlam, of Eton College. 

Among many who have given me the benefit of 
advice and sympathy, I must first mention my father, 
Lord Kilbracken. I am also deeply indebted to Lady 
Burghclere, whose studies on the history of the seven- 
teenth century are well known ; to The Hon. Mrs. 
Walter James ; to Miss Katharine Mathew ; to my 
aunt, Miss Godley ; and to my brother-in-law, Mr. John 

With regard to information from manuscript 
sources, I have done my best to ascertain which of the 
many extracts in this book are now published for the 
first time, and to distinguish them accordingly ; but 
if, in any case, it is shown that I have made the claim 
unjustly, I hereby apologise beforehand. 







III. ROCROY . ...... 40 

V. FRIBOURG ....... 84 


VII. NORDLINGEN . . . . . . -131 



X. LERIDA . . . . . . . 177 

X. LENS ........ 198 





XVI. BLENEAU .... -349 



b ix 






XXII. THE DUNES . . . . . . .486 





XXVI. LAST YEARS . . . . . . -583 




INDEX ....... 617 


THE GREAT CONDE IN 1653 .... Frontispiece 

From a portrait by the younger Teniers at Chantilly 


THE GREAT CONDE AS A CHILD, 1633 . . . .8 

From a print in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris 

THE GREAT CONDE ....... 488 

From a bust by Coysevox, in the Louvre 





ROCROY ........ 53 






LENS . . ... . . . . 219 


ANTOINE ...... Facing p. 388 

RELIEF OF ARRAS . . . . . . .445 



SENEFF , . . . . . , .565 


On page 77, for Mercaur read Mercceur. 

On page 34, for Sarrazin read Sarasin. 

On page 90, for Palluau read Paluau. 

On page 259 (note),/<?r Comte de Dunois read Comte de St. Paul. 

On pages 132 and 136, for Flemish read Walloon. 

An asterisk prefixed to a footnote signifies reference to 
unpublished material. 





" LA Magnifique et Superbe entree de Monseigneur le 
due d'Anguien en la ville de Bourges, en attendant le 
jour heureux de son baptesme ". Thus is recorded 
the first public appearance of Louis de Bourbon, Due 
d'Enghien ; x called, by succeeding ages, * the Great 
Conde '. The impressive titles of his later years are 
thus given in full by an early biographer : " Louis de 
Bourbon ; Second du Nom ; Prince de Conde ; Premier 
Prince du Sang ; Surnomme le Grand ". 

The Princes of the branch of Bourbon-Conde traced 
their descent in direct line from St. Louis. 2 The coveted 
distinction, ' First Prince of the Blood ', had come to 
them with the accession of their kinsman Henri iv ; 
it was bestowed, at that time, upon Henri de Bourbon, 
third Prince of Conde, who, until the birth of a son to the 
King, stood next in succession to the throne. At Court, 
or elsewhere, the head of their family was known pre- 
eminently as ' the Prince ', ' Monsieur le Prince '. 3 
His eldest son, the Due d'Enghien, was recognised as 
' Monsieur le Due ' ; by which undisputed title the 
Great Conde was known for the first twenty-five years of 
his life. 

1 The name was formerly written Anguien, or Anguyen. 

2 Sse Appendix A. 

3 Saint-Simon (cd. Cheruel, vii. 160) ascribes the origin of this title to 
the custom of the Huguenots, who invariably applied it to their leader, 
the first Prince of Conde. 


May the 5th, 1626, was the happy day of M. le 
Due's baptism. It had been deferred for no less than 
four years and eight months ; the date of his birth 
was September 7th, 1621. Such delay was not un- 
common in the case of state Christenings ; perhaps on 
account of the extreme length and trying nature of the 
ceremony. Louis xiv himself, like his cousin of 
Enghien, was not formally baptized till he was nearly 
five years old ; at which ripe age a Prince of the Blood 
was expected to be capable of playing his part on any 
public occasion. Henri n de Bourbon, Prince of 
Conde, and father of Monseigneur le Due, had lately 
been appointed Governor of the provinces of Berry 
and Burgundy ; an office which gave him the oppor- 
tunity of having his little son received into the Church 
with royal honours. King Louis xm, as god-father, 
gave his own name to the child. The service was to 
be held at Bourges, the capital of Berry, in the splendid 
Cathedral of St. Etienne ; and the inhabitants, de- 
lighted at this compliment paid them by their Governor, 
spared no pains to prepare appropriate rejoicings. 

On the morning of May 2nd, M. le Due, magnifi- 
cently dressed in blue velvet and silver, arrived at the 
open space outside the town, known as the l grand 
Credo ' ; where he dined with the chief nobles of the 
province, and also received ' harangues ', or addresses, 
from various deputations. The Prince, his father, 
was present, but, with commendable tact, kept him- 
self in the background (' se tenoit un peu a 1'escart J ) ; 
and the Duke, unsupported, bore himself with that 
complete assurance which seldom deserted him in after 
life. One charming feature of the proceedings was the 
entrance of a regiment of small children " all dressed 
alike, armed with little pikes and swords, wearing 
ribbons of their Prince's colours, and led by captains, 
lieutenants, and ensigns, all of the same age ". After 
the ' harangues ' had been delivered, a procession was 
formed, to escort the Duke, who was carried in a litter. 
First went the ' Prvot Provincial ', covered with gold 
tinsel, and his lieutenants, ' vestus a 1'avantage ' ; 
the ' archers ', who were in reality a corps of cavalry, 
in crimson velvet, carrying pistols and carbines. Then 
followed a great array of religious orders ; Capuchins, 
Cordeliers, Carmelites, Minims, Jacobins, and Aug- 
ustines ; and the clergy of the different chapters con- 


nected with the town. Every few yards they were met 
by fresh detachments, who came out with greetings for 
M. le Due ; always beginning with the same solemn 
rhetoric : " Monseigneur, les anciens ", or "les Romains ", 
etc. etc., and never including a single sentence which it 
seemed possible a child of four could understand. At 
the gates of the town two silver keys were given him ; 
farther on, under a great triumphal arch, ' a beautiful 
child, clothed in white satin ', presented solid silver 
figures of a shepherd, three sheep, and a dog, in al- 
lusion to the arms of Bourges, and the chief industry 
of Berry. The Jesuit fathers had erected an open- 
air stage in front of their College, where a short inter- 
lude was performed, ' pour le contentement de ce jeune 
prince '. After so many serious discourses, it is a relief 
to hear that the piece was of a cheerful nature, ' pleine 
de rejouissance et d'allegresse '. At length the Cathedral 
was reached, and here the Archbishop, in his Ponti- 
fical vestments, with all the Canons, came out to meet 
the Duke, and led him into the Choir, while a Te Deum 
was sung, * with the music of voices and instruments '. 
Three days later, the actual Christening took place. 
M. le Due spared his god-parents all responsibility by 
making the responses audibly for himself, and repeat- 
ing the Creed, in Latin, from beginning to end. 1 

Henri de Bourbon was not an affectionate father ; 
but he held most decided and practical views on the 
subject of education, and he was thoroughly deter- 
mined that the most should be made of his son's mental 
gifts. Like all the heads of great princely houses at 
that date, he looked upon the younger members of his 
family simply as his tools ; the more intelligent and 
capable they were, the more influence he could obtain 
through them. Not that he had any vast ambition to 
gratify ; his chief anxiety was to be rich, his avarice 
was a byword, and to be preferred, for lucrative 
posts, before the Princes of Lorraine and Vendome, or 
the Soissons branch of the Bourbons. Among this 
insatiable crowd of minor royalty, Henri de Bourbon 
might be singled out as representing, in his own person, 
nearly all the worst faults of his kind. He was servile 
as well as grasping ; without dignity and without 
principle. Even superficial gifts were denied him. 

1 The details of M. le Due's christening ceremony are taken from a 
contemporary pamphlet in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 


He had not the frankly commanding aspect of his 
forefathers ; that ' air releve ' which the Great Conde 
seems to have inherited from his more distant ancestors ; 
and which, in former years, had caused the English 
King, Henry vm, to say of Charles de Bourbon : 'I 
would not be master to that subject of my brother of 
France". Still less could he claim the genial qualities 
of his grandfather, Louis i of Conde* : 

" Ce petit homme tant joli 
Qui tou jours cause et tou jours rit, 
Et tou jours baise sa mignonne, 
Dieu gard' de mal le petit homme ! " 

Yet this singularly unattractive prince was the 
husband of one of the most beautiful women in Europe. 
The story of his marriage, as told by Tallemant des 
Reaux, is an excellent example of the use which the 
Kings of France made of their more or less dependent 
relations. Marie de Medicis, Queen-Consort of Henri 
iv, had devised a ballet, in which all the most beautiful 
ladies of the Court were to take part ; among them, 
Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, a girl of fifteen, 
daughter of Henri, Due de Montmorency, and grand- 
daughter of the renowned Constable Anne. Her beauty, 
it was said, had been celebrated from the time she was 
four years old. When the moment arrived for choosing 
the performers, the King and Queen were soon at 
variance ; in the end, the Queen had her way, but the 
King, to mark his displeasure, refused to take any 
further interest in the preparations. " All this time ", 
says the chronicler, " the practising for the ballet went 
on without hindrance. Every time the ladies attended 
a rehearsal, they passed down the gallery in front of 
the King's apartments ; but he, being angry, no sooner 
heard them coming than he ordered the doors to be 
shut ". One day, this order was not strictly carried out, 
and he caught a glimpse of Mademoiselle de Mont- 
morency as she went by with her companions. Im- 
mediately he left his room and followed them, to 
watch the performance. " Now, the ladies were 
dressed as nymphs, and at one moment of the dance 
they lifted their javelins, as if in the act to throw them. 
Mademoiselle de Montmorency was standing opposite 
to the King when she raised her dart, and she seemed 
to pierce him with it ". " From that day forward the 

1 62 1-6] THE QUEEN'S BALLET 5 

porter had no orders to shut the door, and the King 
allowed the Queen to do whatever she pleased ". His 
first step was to arrange a marriage which should keep 
the nymph at Court ; and Henri de Bourbon was 
desired to come forward. Charlotte de Montmorency 
had many suitors. She was actually betrothed to 
Francois de Bassompierre, 1 a young man who seemed 
to possess all the necessary qualifications for a hero of 
romance ; but, at the King's command, sentiment was 
thrown to the winds. Bassompierre relinquished his 
claim, Henri de Bourbon assured himself that the 
marriage portion was satisfactory, and Mademoiselle 
de Montmorency became Princess of Conde. Many 
years later it was said by one who had known them 
intimately, that " M. le Prince had only given Madame 
la Princesse two happy days in her life ; namely, the 
day when he married her, and gave her his great rank ; 
and the day of his death, when she regained her liberty 
and inherited his large fortune ". 2 

It soon proved to be only in public life that the 
Prince was submissive. As a husband, he showed 
himself unexpectedly tyrannical ; and the Princess, 
who was timid by nature, became, before long, an 
obedient wife. When, soon after the accession of 
Louis xin, her husband fell into disgrace and was im- 
prisoned at Vincennes, she followed him dutifully. 
There, in captivity, their four eldest children were 
born ; three sons, who died in infancy, and a daughter, 
Anne-Gene vieve de Bourbon, afterwards Duchesse de 
Longueville. Their fifth child, born in Paris after his 
father's release, was the Great Conde. " Now that 
you have a boy, I do not doubt that you are pleased ", 
wrote Louis xin, who, at that time, was still childless ; 
" and so you have reason to be ; these are the favours 
of Heaven ". 3 

Madame la Princesse was not allowed much voice 
in the bringing-up of her son. The child was so delicate 
that for some time he was scarcely expected to live. 
He was sent from Paris to the Castle of Montrond, in 
Berry ; and, whereas children of his rank were usually 
entrusted to ladies of quality, he was placed under the 
charge of two or three ' bourgeoises ', ' full of experi- 

1 Afterwards Marshal of France; born 1579 ; died 1646. 

2 Madame de Motteville, Memoires. 

3 Archives of Chantilly, September, 1621. 


ence, care, and wisdom ' ; a measure which, in all 
probability, saved his life. It would seem, from the 
accounts of his early childhood, that there never was a 
more insubordinate little boy ; " he resisted, as far as 
the weakness of his age allowed, the rules for going to 
bed, for getting up, for meals, and for recreation "- 1 
Like a true Bourbon, he owned no authority but that of 
the head of his House. His father was the only person 
who could be relied on to bring him to reason ; and it 
was by the Prince's order that M. le Due was soundly 
punished as often as he deserved it. But if he was 
troublesome, he was very far from stupid ; those in charge 
of him soon discovered that the more his mind was 
occupied, the more easily he could be managed. No 
truer word was ever spoken of him than that of the Jesuit 
Father Pelletier, when he said of his pupil, " C'est un 
esprit auquel il faut de Vemploi ". Therefore, at eight 
years old, little more than three years after the famous 
Christening, the Duke was regularly installed as a student 
at the College of Ste. Marie of Bourges ; an arrangement 
which commended itself greatly to Henri de Bourbon's 
careful mind. He was able to secure excellent teaching 
for his son ; while his position as Governor freed him 
from many of the ordinary expenses. 

To encourage family affection was no part of the 
educational scheme. Enghien's intercourse with his 
relations was limited to an occasional holiday at Mont- 
rond, often in the absence of his parents, and visits 
from his father. Visits from Madame la Princesse were 
rare, and subject to restrictions. Henri de Bourbon 
came often to the capital of his province, and never 
failed to inquire after his son's progress. He used to 
question him, and look through his compositions ; he 
also made him dance before him ; "in which ", says 
Lenet the secretary, who was often an eye- witness, " he 
took particular pleasure ", as the young prince " ex- 
celled in this agreeable exercise ". 2 One short and 
memorable interval the three children, Enghien, his sister, 
and his little brother Armand, 3 Prince of Conti, spent 
together at Bourges. This was in the autumn .of 1632, 
while their mother made a desperate journey to beg 
mercy of Richelieu for her only brother, Henri de Mont- 
morency, famed for ' his valour, his good looks, and his 

1 Desormeaux, Histoire de la Vie et des Actions de Louis de Bourbon. 

2 Lenet, Memoires. 3 Born 1629 ; died 1666. 


magnificence ', who was lying under sentence of death 
for insurrection. Her errand was in vain ; Montmorency 
was beheaded, and most of his friends disgraced. It was 
M. le Due's first experience of contemporary politics ; 
he never forgot it, and never forgave Richelieu the part 
which he had played. 

All this while, the idea that the ' First Prince of the 
Blood ' should be educating his son at a public institu- 
tion, was arousing comment of every kind. Such a 
decision had never been heard of before. It was looked 
on, in some quarters, as scarcely less than sacrilege. On 
the whole, however, popular opinion approved of the 
innovation. Father Denis Petau, a distinguished Jesuit 
scholar, dedicated to the Duke his Livre de Raison du 
Temps or Rationarium Temporum, congratulating him 
openly on being educated so differently from other 
princes ; and received in return an admirably polite 
letter, thanking him for the compliment, and begging 
in conclusion " the assistance of your holy prayers for 
me, so that, by the grace of God, I may imitate the 
virtues and the innocence of my patron St. Louis "- 1 
This much-discussed system does not strike the modern 
mind as dangerously democratic. Instead of living in 
the College, M. le Due was established in the most beauti- 
ful house in Bourges ; the famous Palais Jacques-Cceur, 
built in the fifteenth century by the treasurer of 
Charles vii. ' A cuers vaillans, rien impossible/ was 
the device sometimes quoted as prophetic, which 
the first owner had carved in stone on the facade. The 
household of M. le Due was placed under the direction 
of a ' faithful and well-intentioned ' tutor or ' gouver- 
neur ', M. de la Buffetiere. It included a doctor, an 
apothecary, and fifteen or twenty servants ; besides 
horses and carriages, and a magnificent state coach 
painted blue, and lined with crimson velvet, which was 
presented by the inhabitants of the town on New Year's 
Day, 1630. Two Jesuit Fathers, Pelletier and Le 
Maitre-Gonthier, were especially chosen to superintend 
the Duke's studies ; " the former ", we are told, " of a 
firmer character and a more austere virtue ; the 
latter, more gentle, more insinuating, better fitted for dealing 
with the great ". 2 In class, the seat occupied by M. le 
Due was surrounded by a small gilt balustrade, within 
whose protecting circle he worked wonders. u No 

1 A .C. 2 Desormeaux. 


pupil", says the school report for the year 1630, " has 
shone more brightly than Louis de Bourbon, Due 
d'Enghien ". His example, it was added, ' inflamed 
all his companions '. 

Enghien also appeared with great distinction in 
the dramatic representations given from time to time 
by the pupils. His first appearance was in the title role 
of a Latin drama, Hyacinthus Liber atus, performed at 
the prize-giving ceremony of 1630. These representa- 
tions generally took place in the ' salle des Actes ' of the 
College ; but the report that the little Prince was to 
take a part drew an audience of such overwhelming 
numbers that the hall of the Palais Jacques-Cceur had 
to be substituted. The nine-year-old Hyacinthus gave 
every satisfaction, and, judging by what records we 
possess, it is not hard to believe that he made an 
attractive figure. In these early portraits the face is 
childish and delicate, and the marked features of the 
Great Conde are still undeveloped ; but he has already 
the lively expression which always distinguished him ; 
besides the thick crop of curly hair which, in after-life, 
he so rarely attempted to keep as tidy as custom re- 
quired. Another character, appropriately played by 
the Duke, was that of ' L'Homme epris de la Gloire ' 
in the interlude Philotimus et Misotimus. His crowning 
performance, however, was in the tragedy of Astion, 
Martyr ; an edifying but gloomy piece, given during 
the Carnival of 1632, and wholly unsuited to that cheer- 
ful season. Astion is a young Christian noble, who 
suffers martyrdom under Diocletian ; his persecutor is 
Latronianus, a tyrant, subsequently ' dragged by furies to 
the infernal regions '. One copy of the work x still in 
existence gives a complete list of the dramatis personce 
on this occasion ; where the name which, to some loya 
minds, was ' sacred and holy ' appears in all simplicity : 

ASTION ..... Louis de Bourbon, Due d'Eng- 

EPIC^TE (companion of Astion) . Rene de Mailly. 
LATRONIANUS (Prefect of Scythia) . Claude Deschamps. 
An Angel Blaise du Boisbreil. 

and a host of other characters, ending with 'Louis Pinson, 
Jean Magistry, and Pierre Quillon ', who figure collec- 
tively as ' Furies '. ' Astion ' was played before a dis- 
tinguished audience, including Henri de Bourbon, who 

1 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 


fues An ixmua Jinjtt, 
lift:.* vtncttvt ArttF CPUS: 
i/la qviJcm: lajfmum JeJ jmLfirius 
; tertf eft vyexitja majis. 

Cftf a. ce ccntp Louis jue lArt ffr Jiirmffxte 
Nay'iinf larnttis futettic fait: peur tu 

a Nanre a cache fiats vcstm lean vtfajf 
Vn tfprii- mill f feis plus rare en ja kaute. 


(From a print in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris) 

[To face p. 8 


was staying in Bourges to be present at the festivities, 
and who had the pleasure of hearing his son's per- 
formance loudly acclaimed. 

Some allowance must perhaps be made for ' dealing 
with the great ' ; but, even so, it seems likely that 
Enghien was in truth a promising scholar. His worst 
enemies never denied him intelligence ; and all his 
life he was known to be a lover of books. From the 
moment when he sets to work on serious studies there 
are few complaints of his conduct. Certainly those 
who were charged to occupy his mind did not spare 
themselves or their pupil. Special teachers were 
engaged, to supplement the ordinary course. Father 
Pelletier 's correspondence refers to a most formidable 
list of subjects : rhetoric, philosophy, logic, physics, 
mathematics, and other sciences. In April, 1635, the 
Duke is " preparing himself in the whole study of 
philosophy, which is not a light task " ; " he is well, 
thanks be to God ", the letter continues, " and gives 
great hope of his piety and his capacities in the future ". 1 
Examinations were held once a month in class, and once 
a year in public. Each pupil was required to * soutenir 
des theses ' ; that is, he was given one or more arguments, 
on fixed subjects, to support in discussion with the 
professors, who were called ' les assaillants '. M. le 
Due, by his father's express wish, 2 submitted regularly 
to these inflictions. One of his prizes, gained in 1633, 
is still preserved, a copy of St. Francois de Sales' 
Traicte de I 1 Amour de Dieu, bound with the arms of 
Bourbon-Conde on the cover, and an inscription to 
' the illustrious prince, Louis de Bourbon ', on the 
fly-leaf. 3 Even his letters to his father are written 
in Latin during these early years ; again by the command 
of that unrelenting Prince, who was never tired of 
spurring on his son's teachers, till they themselves 
sometimes begged for mercy. In the summer of 1635 
a terrific final examination was held, in which all the 
successive courses of study were summed up. Among 
the various theses Enghien was required to support, 
were twenty-seven * on Ethics ', fifteen ' on Meteors ', 
fifteen ( on the transformation of Substances ', and 

1 Father Pelletier to Henri, Prince of Conde, A.C. 

2 ' Je veux que mon fils soutienne les theses du mois comme les autres' 
(Henri, Prince of Conde, to Father Pelletier, A.C.). 
3 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 


fifteen ' on Metaphysics '. The discussions were held 
in public, and the circle of assailants consisted of pre- 
lates, and scholars of distinction. But the Duke was 
nothing if not courageous, and his triumph surpassed 
all expectations. No wonder that La Fontaine wrote, 
fifty years later, of ' M. le Prince ' : 

u He has a great love of argument, and never shows 
so much ingenuity as when he is in the wrong." 

Whatever aptitude Enghien may have shown, there 
can be no doubt that the strain of such a system was 
very severe for a delicate child ; or that his brain 
power was developed at the expense of his health and 
nerves. After this final effort, he was so much exhausted 
that he had to be sent to Montrond for a comparative 
holiday ; but even from here Father Pelletier writes 
that one of the supplementary professors had been 
astonished that the Duke was not allowed more leisure, 
" for recreation and the good of his health ". " He 
told me ", he adds, " that I ought to see to it, as no one 
else concerned themselves about it ". 2 Following this 
suggestion are vigorous recriminations between Father 
Pelletier and La Buffetiere, the ' gouverneur ', whose 
duty it was to escort the Duke out hunting, on the rare 
occasions when he was allowed a day's sport. Father 
Pelletier encouraged this pupil in the idea that this in- 
dulgence might be granted rather oftener ; and Enghien, 
nothing loth, persisted, until La Buffetiere, exasperated, 
told him that " he only stayed with him to expiate his 
own past sins ". M. le Due, just fourteen, and needing 
no encouragement to assert himself, declared, in return, 
that his tutor treated him like a lacquey (' comme un 
faquin ') and that his age and rank deserved some- 
thing better. This heated interview is described by 
Father Pelletier in an indignant letter to the Prince. 
It was not without result. Henri de Bourbon seems to 
have realised that a hired authority was not likely to be 
effective much longer. Moreover, he did not intend 
that his son should be too much trained to submission, 
except towards parental commands. He would be all 
the more useful for knowing how to hold his own, on 
occasion. The course at Bourges had been completed, 
and it was time for the work of emancipation to begin. 

x La Fontaine, Comparaison d' Alexandra, de Cesar, et de M. le 

2 Father Pelletier to Henri, Prince of Conde, A .C. 


Enghien took his last leave of Bourges and the College 
in January, 1636. Six years of subjection, of hard 
study in a strict religious atmosphere, could hardly fail 
to leave their mark. Yet in spite of the school report, 
which speaks of him as ' formed in mind and character ' 
he was not fifteen ! their influence was less moral 
than intellectual. Certain hereditary defects of the 
Bourbon race might be repressed for the moment, but 
the very strictness and narrowness of the system made 
a reaction all the more inevitable. The Prince, who 
11 gave great hopes of his piety for the future ", and who 
is named among the members of the ' Congregation of 
Our Lady V " Louis, Prince de Conde, eleve sous la 
protection de la Mere de Dieu, a Bourges ", seems a 
long way from the ' Conde, ce diable ' of the Fronde. 
Nevertheless, the effect of this early training does re- 
appear, now and again, generally to the unconcealed 
amazement of the spectators. " I have reason to 
think ", writes, naively enough, one who was no partisan 
of ' M. le Prince ', " that there was some foundation 
of goodness in his soul, which on supreme occasions 
turned him towards God ; Whose power he worshipped, 
though he did not obey His commandments as he ought. 
I have heard his followers say that he sometimes showed 
great signs of being susceptible to religion, although he 
had no reputation for piety M . 2 Further, it may be said 
that, professed atheist as he appeared for many years, 
the Great Conde was never indifferent to religion as a 
subject. He would talk, and argue, on theological 
matters, even at the time when he was least given to 
practising the Christian virtues. And let it not be 
forgotten that it was to an old school-fellow of Bourges, 
Father Etienne Agard des Champs, that he applied 
for help in his final conversion. 

The fame of the Due d 'Enghien 's achievements in 
learning had been spread abroad before he left the 
College of Ste Marie. The second, and more worldly, 
stage in his education was to be a course at the Academic 
Royale in Paris ; but there was an interval between the 
two, during which he was allowed to visit the chief 
towns of Berry and Burgundy, and represent his father 
at various official ceremonies. Auxerre and Dijon 

1 Founded, 1584 ; tercentenary celebrated, 1884. Among other mem- 
bers were Bossuet, Fenelon, and Marshal de Villars. 

2 Motteville, Memoires, iv. 103. 


received him with public rejoicings, and the customary 
1 ballets ' or masques in his honour are full of allusions 
to his scholarship. The Ballet des Sciences et des Arts 
Liber aux, at Dijon, was a most ponderous affair. Only 
a prince who had been inured to addresses since the age 
of four could have endured it patiently at fourteen, 
and, without flinching, heard himself addressed as : 

< Jeune merveille de nos ans 
Prince qui dementez votre age, 
Et dont la conduite trop sage 
N'est sujette a 1'ordre du temps. 
Prodige du siecle ou nous sommes, 
Esprit d'ange, qui triomphant 
Des sciences que font les hommes, 
En avez fait un jeu d'enfant ". 

But the true bent of this ' young marvel ' was already 
acknowledged. Presently there enters a figure repre- 
senting ' L'Art Militaire ', following the Sciences, of 
whom she says : 

" Mais elles ne se peuvent taire, 
Jalouses que vous les quittiez ; 
Et genereux vous yous portez 
A courtiser 1'Art Militaire ". 

While in conclusion appears ' M. de Mongey, represen- 
tant la Mathematique ' ; which in those days included 
the study of fortification and engineering : 

" Louis, c'est a moi seule que tu te dois rendre, 
Les autres ne font rien que brouiller les esprits, 
Si tu te donnes a moi je te ferai comprendre 
Des secrets inconnus, dont tu seras epris ". 

" Ne t'amuse done plus qu'aux Sciences utiles ; 
Ton age le permet, viens apprendre de moi, 
Comme il faut conquerir et conserver les villes, 
Quand il faudra servir, et la France, et ton Roi ". 

To serve France and their King was the avowed 
object of nearly all the pupils at the Academic Roy ale. 
Incidentally, they were taught to cultivate social 
gifts, and polite accomplishments. Fencing and horse- 
manship were two important items ; taught by a 
certain ' M. Benjamin ', who had been the professor 
of Louis xiii. M. le Due was naturally a centre of 
interest ; his rank and his unique upbringing at first 
attracted attention ; his personality held it. Before 
long he was surrounded by a circle of friends, some of 


whose names are conspicuous in his later career. 
Nemours, 1 Luynes, 2 Fiesque, 3 Tavannes, 4 and the 
brothers of Gramont 5 and Senecey ; 6 many who fought 
by Enghien's side in his early campaigns, facing life, 
death, and every other possibility, with the same light- 
hearted, irresponsible courage. The severity of Bourges 
was soon little more than a memory. Instead of the 
redoubtable examinations, there were tournaments, 
once a month, in feats of skill. The Duke writes to his 
father that he has won a horse, ' un asses joli bidet ' 
as the prize for tilting. For his studies he devotes 
himself chiefly to " the example of those who have been 
great and wise captains " ; " that I may learn by their 
conduct ", he adds, " to make myself what you would 
wish me to be ". The programme of instruction at the 
Academy shows that physical exercises did not occupy 
the pupils' whole time. They were required to master 
" universal history ; the establishment, decline, and 
change of the Empires of the world ; the transmigration 
of races ; the foundation and fall of great cities ; and 
the state of modern principalities, especially those of 
Europe " ; this last an eminently practical study. 

Among the countless influences which closed round 
Enghien in his new life, special mention must be given 
to that of his sister, Anne-Gene vie ve, ' Mademoiselle de 
Bourbon ' ; she was known by this title until her 
marriage, five years later, to Henri d'Orleans, Due de 
Longueville. This marriage is tersely described by one 
of her relations as " a cruel fate. He was old ; she 
was very young, and as beautiful as an angel "J " It 
was impossible to see her ", writes another contemporary, 
" without loving her, and wishing to please her ". 8 
Anne de Bourbon was two years older than her brother. 
Like him, she had strong intellectual sympathies ; 
her education with the Carmelites of St Denis had 

1 Louis de Savoie, Due de Nemours ; born 1621 ; died of typhus fever, 

2 Louis-Charles d' Albert, Due de Luynes ; born 1620 ; distinguished in 
action at Arras and elsewhere. 

3 Fran9ois de Fiesque, Knight of Malta; killed at Mardyck, 1646. 

4 Jacques de Saulx, Comte de Tavannes. 

5 Henri de Gramont, Comte de Toulongeon, and Philibert, Chevalier 
de Gramont, who fought at Fribourg, Nordlingen, and Lens. 

6 Henri and Louis de Bauffremont-Senecey ; both killed at La Marfee, 
near Sedan, 1641. 

7 Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Mtmoires. 

8 Motteville, Memoires. 


been scarcely less serious than his with the Jesuits 
of Bourges. She was now living with her mother at 
the Hotel de Conde in Paris, and already the poets 
were singing her praises. 

' L'on jugerait par la beaute 
De Bourbon, et par sa fraicheur, 
Qu'elle a pris naissance des lis "^ 

Madame la Princesse particularly affected the society 
of Madame de Sable, Madame de Rambouillet, and 
others of the inner circle of the ' precieuses ' ; :( the 
most gifted and witty of the Court, and all those who 
were most exalted both by birth and by merit ". 2 
During his schooldays the Duke had seen little or 
nothing of his mother and sister, whose visits to Bourges 
had not been encouraged. The Princess was afraid of 
her husband, but she was none the less fond of her 
son, and as soon as he was within her reach, she lost 
no time in establishing intercourse with him. Her 
advances were vigorously resisted by Father Pelletier, 
who, instructed by the Prince, was still mounting 
guard over his pupil. Henri de Bourbon was a jealous 
parent, with a profound experience of Court manners 
and customs. He mistrusted all influences not directed 
by himself ; less on moral grounds than because he 
was resolved that his son should be no one's tool but 
his own. In the struggle which followed, M. le Due 
must have learnt much that was at least as useful to 
him as the universal history, and transmigration of 
races, included in the school curriculum. 

Sometimes Father Pelletier records a victory for 
himself, giving a lively idea of the methods he used, 
and the example he set before his pupil. Writing 
from Paris, in 1637, he said, " Yesterday M. le Due 
had a disappointment which he showed "a good deal. 
Madame (la Princesse) had sent to ask after him, and 
had told him secretly that she would send to fetch him, 
and that he should be amused by a little comedy which 
was to be played by Mademoiselle his sister, and some 
others ". The comedy in itself was likely to be harmless, 
for Mademoiselle de Bourbon, and her friends of the 
Hotel de Rambouillet, prided themselves extremely on 
the refined elevation of their sentiments. Father 
Pelletier, however, agreed with the Principal of the 

1 Voiture. 2 Lenet, Memoires. 


Academy that the Duke would be better without this 
amusement. They therefore told him, quite untruly, 
that the gentleman who was to have escorted him had 
been taken suddenly ill. To go unattended was out of 
the question, and the whole scheme had to be given up. 
This may seem a very trivial incident ; but the moral 
principles of Bourges were not likely to survive among 
such surroundings. It was idle to suppose that a prince 
of Enghien 's age and disposition could be controlled and 
imposed upon like a child. Dissimulation, he soon 
found, was a game any number of people could play at ; 
he wrote submissive letters, promising absolute obedi- 
ence and went his own way whenever he could. ' We 
princes are all cheats ', was the cheerful statement 
of his contemporary, Duke Charles of Lorraine ; and 
the Great Conde was not trained to be an exception to 
the rule. All that the tutor gained, in the end, by 
his interference, was the undying dislike of Mademoiselle 
de Bourbon. Father Rapin of Port Royal, writing of 
her long afterwards, says : " Her aversion to these 
(Jesuit) Fathers was caused by the incivility of Father 
Pelletier, to whom the Prince of Conde, her father, had 
given the charge of the Due d Enghien ", and who " had 
no consideration for the Princess of Conde, her mother, 
or for herself, when they wished to see the little Duke ". 
While Enghien was busied in outwitting his teachers 
and guardians, his future was receiving consideration 
from the most powerful man in Europe. An influence, 
directly exercised over him for barely five years, yet 
second to none in lasting effect, laid hold upon his life 
on the day when he first found himself face to face 
with Richelieu. The supremacy of the Cardinal had 
reached its highest point during these years of Enghien 's 
early youth. He ruled France and the Court with a 
rod of iron ; the King was submissive before him, and 
the Princes abject. Henri de Bourbon was among the 
most slavish of his followers ; so that when M. le Due 
took up his abode in Paris, it was a matter of course 
that, immediately after being presented to the King, 
he should be sent to pay his respects at the Palais- 
Cardinal ; " which he did'*, so it was said " rather 
more proudly than his father 1 . 1 The impressions of 
his childhood and the memory of his uncle's death, 
were still very distinct. Richelieu, a past master in 

1 Lenet, Memoires. 


the study of men, observed this new young prince with 
some attention. What career or position was he likely 
to create for himself in the future ? What use could 
be made of him as a political pawn ? Moreover, the 
Cardinal was considering an arrangement, suggested 
some years earlier, for the marriage of the Due d'Enghien 
to a near relation of his own : Claire-Clemence de 
Maille-Breze, 1 his sister's child. Henri de Bourbon 
had begun his overtures as far back as 1633, when the 
contracting parties were aged, respectively, twelve and 
four. He was urged on by the report that Mademoiselle 
de Breze already had other suitors, and that the Due de 
la Tremoille was asking her hand for his eldest son. 
" Your Highness should be paying court for the marriage 
of M. le Due to the daughter of the Marechal de Breze ", 
wrote one of his confidential agents. Richelieu was 
flattered by the prospect of this almost Royal alliance ; 
but he sanctioned no formal negotiations till he had 
taken the measure of his intended nephew-in-law. 
This done, he made no further objections ; M. le Due 
satisfied him. The Cardinal was too acute not to see 
that here was a young man of exceptional character ; 
one who, at sixteen, was already a person to be reckoned 
with, and whom it would be well to attach to his own 
interests as soon as possible. For the moment, he con- 
tented himself with superintending the choice of the 
Duke's confessor ; it was his custom to appoint con- 
fessors for all the principal persons at Court, and to 
dismiss any spiritual adviser of whom he disapproved. 
A few months later, the official demand was made by 
Henri, Prince of Conde, on behalf of his son, to the 
Marechal-Duc de Breze, for the honour of his daughter's 
hand. That Enghien, precocious though he was, would 
offer any serious resistance to their scheme, was an idea 
which probably never entered the head of either Prince 
or Cardinal. Nevertheless, it was reported that Richelieu, 
on his death-bed, declared that M. le Due had given him 
more trouble than illness or conspirators; u qu'il avoit 
plus souffert par lui que par ses plaies ou par Cinq-Mars ". 2 

1 Daughter of Urbain de Maille, Marechal-Duc de Breze, and his wife, 
Nicole du Plessis de Richelieu. 

2 Henri Coiffier, Marquis de Cinq-Mars ; beheaded, as a conspirator 
against Richelieu, 1642. 



PIERRE LENET, secretary and confidential agent to 
the House of Conde, says of M. le Due, that the first 
years after he left Bourges would have been the happiest 
of his life, but for the prospect of his marriage to Made- 
moiselle de Breze. It is not quite clear at what point 
in the transaction Henri de Bourbon first thought fit 
to broach the matter to his son. What appears certain 
is that at no time did he show the smallest sign of 
consulting his views, or of being guided by his inclina- 
tions. Enghien, so all good evidence agrees, was 
violently opposed to the idea, from the moment it was 
suggested to him. He was barely seventeen ; he did 
not wish to be married at all ; still less to acquiesce 
in a scheme for identifying his family interests with 
those of Richelieu. The Prince, on the other hand, 
shows himself to have been bent on this profitable con- 
nection, at all costs. In his letters to the Cardinal are 
to be found the most unblushing assertions, not only of his 
own joy and gratitude, but of that of his son and his whole 
family ; he writes of " my son, who has the same burn- 
ing wish that I have, to be allied to you ". Richelieu, 
secretly no less anxious for the said alliance, gives his 
consent with dignity, not forgetting to keep up a fiction 
of the supposed lovers' happiness and devotion ; at 
the same time setting a lynx-like watch upon M. le 
Due, of whose real feelings he was soon made perfectly 
aware . 

When his course at the Academic Royale was over, 
in 1638, Enghien was sent from Paris to spend some time 
as Deputy-Governor for his father at Dijon ; where 
Lenet, as a councillor in the Parliament of Burgundy, 
saw him often, and intimately. He reports that " the 


repeated suggestions of his marriage to Mademoiselle 
de Breze were causing the Duke mortal anxiety " ; 
and that " the more he was urged, the more he set him- 
self against the project ". One day, when they were 
out hunting together, he sounded Lenet as to whether 
open revolt would be possible, and put forward a 
desperate design, namely, to take refuge from the 
persecution of his father and the Cardinal in some small 
fortified place, such as the neighbouring town of Dole, 
and from there to appeal to the King. He drew no 
encouragement from his companion ; a shrewd man of 
business, described by Madame de vSevigne as having 
wits enough for four~ Yet Lenet himself allows that 
he would not have discouraged even this forlorn hope, 
if he had realised ' what just cause for sorrow ' was to 
come of the marriage. 

Enghien's position at this time was one of complete 
dependence on his father ; apart from whom he had 
absolutely no means of subsistence. He was summarily 
ordered to pay his court to Mademoiselle de Breze, 
and had practically no choice but to obey. His letters 
are patterns of formal affection and dutifulness, since 
there was nothing to be gained by committing himself 
to a refusal in writing ; but he contrived, by other 
methods, to make his reluctance so obvious as to 
cause Richelieu serious uneasiness. The Cardinal's 
private letters show clearly enough that he felt the 
strictest supervision to be necessary. M. le Due had 
been directed to correspond with his future bride 
during his absence at Dijon ; and Richelieu writes to 
Madame Bouthillier, the lady in charge of Mademoiselle 
de Breze, that he has intercepted one of these letters. 
" I had the curiosity to open it ", he says, " that I might 
judge of the style. I now send it to you, to fulfil 
my promise to the bearer, and to satisfy his master, 
who would be sorry that it should only travel half-way. 
You will give it, if you please, to my niece " > The 
writer of the letter in question was by this time too 
experienced not to suspect that he was being watched ; 
he said, no doubt, whatever he can have felt himself 
expected to say to a child of ten years old, whom he 
scarcely knew, even by sight. He utterly refused, 
however, to make any advances, or to show the slightest 
interest in the poor little bride-elect, except on com- 

1 Correspondence de Richelieu, 1638, 


pulsion. At times, when his neglect became so apparent 
as to excite comment, Richelieu would complain to the 
Prince, who could always be relied on to call his son to 
order, and exact some further tributes of consideration. 
Enghien never failed, in answer, to represent that he 
was doing all that could possibly be required of him. 
Nothing could exceed the simplicity or the caution 
with which he expresses himself ; clear-sighted from 
his earliest years, he was fast learning to play a part 
for himself. One of his letters, written in 1640, de- 
scribes how " we visited M. le Cardinal, who did us 
much honour, and told me that he was satisfied with 
me, and that he thought you would be, too ; he spoke 
to me a great deal of the siege, 1 and asked me ques- 
tions, which I answered as well as I could. After that 
he asked me if you were coming here, and what I was 

?oing to do. I told him I thought that both you and 
would always do as he wished. Then I asked him 
for news of Mademoiselle de Breze ; he told me that 
she was well, and that I did her honour by remembering 
her. After that I went away ", 2 leaving behind him, 
no doubt, a very clear impression of outward civility 
and inward dislike. 

Strange as it may seem, Richelieu's ardour for the 
marriage was in no way lessened by this almost open 
antagonism. On the contrary, the more he realised 
the Duke's force of character, the more he resolved to 
secure him to himself. He made opportunities for 
cultivating his acquaintance, and spoke in high praise 
of his brilliant qualities, seeing in him a social as well 
as a political power of the future. His military renown 
can hardly at that time have been foreseen, even by 
Richelieu. As regards social gifts, M. le Due was cer- 
tainly not endowed with beauty like that of his sister ; 
his thin face, fierce large eyes, and immense aquiline 
nose, were almost grotesque, in certain aspects. " The 
face of an eagle ", was the unanimous verdict of his 
contemporaries. Moreover, he himself cared nothing 
for his looks ; he was notoriously untidy, and sub- 
mitted reluctantly to the elaborate Court fashions of 
his time ; though it was acknowledged that he had 
1 la mine haute ' and ' 1'air d'un grand prince ', and 
knew how to appear in them to great advantage. In 
figure he was very slight, but perfectly proportioned, 

1 The siege of Arras, June-August, 1640. a A.C., 1640. 


and conspicuously active and graceful ; his skill in 
dancing, not less than in riding, and other exercises, 
was a theme of constant admiration. His mental 
powers were beyond dispute ; friends and enemies 
alike testify to them. One of his officers, 1 in a strictly 
impartial portrait, declares that the Duke's clearness 
of mind, force of judgment, and ease in expressing 
himself, were unsurpassed. No one could be a more 
thoroughly entertaining companion than he, when it 
suited his purpose ; and a lively sense of humour, 
coupled with an unsparing tongue, caused him to be 
feared in certain circles where he was by no means 
loved. Already he had found a congenial atmosphere 
in the society of the Hotel de Rambouillet ; and 
throughout his stay at Dijon he kept up a correspond- 
ence, in verse, with several members of that celebrated 
clique : 

" Or, sachez, Monseigneur, que chacun vous renonce, 
Si, ce paquet rec.u vous ne faites reponce, 
Et si vous n'exprimez avec de beaux vers 
Des dames de Dijon les entretiens divers " ; 

the quotation is from a joint letter, signed ' Servi- 
teurs et Servantes ', and dated. 

" Ecrite trois mois avant Juillet, 
Dedans 1'hotel de Rambouillet ". 

Popular, in a wider and more general sense, Enghien was 
not, and never would be ; he lacked sympathy with the 
crowd, and had none of the ready good-nature which 
could act as a substitute. His power over others lay 
in certain vivid characteristics ; in his energy, mental 
and physical ; above all in the personal courage, 
touched with inspiration, which made his presence 
exhilarating, though it was not often genial. When he 
appeared for a time in Paris, in 1640, all the younger 
nobles at Court accepted le Due as their leader ; 
they followed him, admired him, and imitated him, till 
it seemed, naturally enough, to Richelieu as to others, 
that here indeed would be a valuable partisan. But 
the Duke had other qualities, less easy to reckon with. 
Nature and circumstances, between them, had launched 

1 Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy-Rabutin, member of the Aca- 
demic Fran9aise, well known as a writer of memoirs, and of the ' chroniques 
scandaleuses ' of the time. 


him on the world with few ideals, little or no belief 
in his fellow-creatures, and a very highly-strung nervous 
system, which his education had done nothing to im- 
prove. Throughout his life he was unaccountable and 
headstrong as an ally ; while as an instrument he was 
already almost beyond control, as Richelieu was perhaps 
the first to discover. 

Henri de Bourbon lost no opportunity of atoning 
for his son's deficiencies as a suitor. He visited 
Mademoiselle de Breze, who was a shy and rather 
backward little girl ; and told her, with many compli- 
ments, that she should be ' dame et maitresse ' in his 
house. When all the preliminary negotiations had 
been concluded, he insisted on Enghien's paying her a 
visit of ceremony, and did his utmost to display him 
in the part of the devoted lover. On their arrival, 
the attendants would have brought forward a chair 
of state for M. le Due, but the Prince waved it away ; 
1 That is not the place for a servant ", he said ; " go 
and sit on a little stool beside your mistress ". To 
make Enghien ridiculous Enghien who never failed to 
detect the smallest absurdity in those around him was 
to put the final touch to the situation. He could not 
disobey ; his rage and humiliation were forced to 
concentrate themselves into a steady dislike of the 
unoffending bride, whose only wish and object was to 
obey her orders. Claire-Clemence de Maille-Breze had 
none of the attributes likely to appeal to a cultivated 
and ambitious young prince of eighteen ; one whose 
domestic qualities, if they existed at all, had certainly 
never been developed in any direction. She was 
small and childish, even for her age, and gave no striking 
promise of beauty or brilliancy for the future. Mis- 
fortune seems to have pursued her through life, in 
small things as in great. She was not without sterling 
gifts of character ; but nothing could redeem the fact 
of her insignificance, especially in a circle where self- 
assertion was the rule. Her many sorrows did not 
command much sympathy from the world she lived in. 
The privilege of marrying a Prince of the Blood was held 
to compensate for almost any degree of adversity ; 
she had at least, as was said in all good faith, " the 
honour of sharing the misfortunes of M. le Prince ". 1 
At this early stage of her promotion she was innocently 

1 Motteville, M6moires, iii. 230. 


pleased and flattered by her unexpected importance, and 
much impressed by her fiance, in spite of his ungracious- 
ness. Her obedience was a matter of course, since 
the Due de Breze readily gave his consent. The only 
dissentient voice among the relations, on either side, 
seems to have been that of Madame la Princesse. One 
of the Prince's confidential messengers, who had been 
dispatched to tell her of the final decision, reported 
that she was a good deal concerned over Mademoiselle 
de Breze's very small stature. But she was too well 
trained to submission not to " desire nothing so much 
as the fulfilment of the Prince's wish ", and only 
ventured to express a hope " that M. le Due might find 
satisfaction in the marriage, since it was a matter that 
would affect his whole life ". 1 

The agreement as to the marriage, ratified by the 
King's consent, was no sooner made public than 
Richelieu emphasised it by taking his future nephew 
ostentatiously under his protection. He was entirely 
of Father Pelletier's opinion as to a mind that required 
occupation, and his first step was clearly to Enghien's 
advantage. He persuaded the Prince to send him on 
active service. The Thirty Years' War, just entering on 
its later stages, was a school of arms in which many of 
' Benjamin's ' pupils completed their education. Since 
France had been drawn into hostilities, in 1635, the 
Spanish forces on the northern and southern frontiers, 
and the Austrian Imperialist army towards the east, 
had provided an outlet for the superfluous energy of the 
kingdom almost as effectively as the early Crusades. 
Richelieu's attention, at this moment, was chiefly 
engaged by the Spaniards in the north. " I think ", 
he writes, " that you will not wish this campaign, now 
opening, to pass without M. le Due taking some part in 
it, and that you should allow him to see it, in the 
company of the oldest Marshal of France ; who will 
know best how to teach him what a Prince of his rank 
ought to know ". To make matters more urgent, he 
even told the King, in Enghien's presence, that M. le Due 
was too old to be left idle, and that he ought to be with 
the army. There can be no doubt that the Duke asked 
nothing better. He was at once enrolled among the 
' yolontaires ', a volunteer corps of a strictly exclusive 
kind, in which most young men of good family made 

1 A.C., 1640. 


their early campaigns, and placed under the charge of 
the Marechal-Duc de la Meilleraye, a commander whose 
merits, as a cousin of the House of Richelieu, out- 
weighed the fact that he was by no means the oldest 
Marshal of France. Serving in the same company were 
many of Enghien's closest friends ; Gesvres, 1 a young 
man of high character and exceptional promise ; 
Nemours, " a handsome prince, full of intelligence and 
courage ", but one whose influence was greatly mis- 
trusted by M. le Due's confessor ; and Gaspard de 
Coligny, 2 already renowned for his daring and his 
accomplishments. Among the senior officers, the Duke's 
chosen companion was that distinguished soldier and 
courtier, Antoine de Gramont, Comte de Guiche, 3 who 
afterwards served him faithfully in the severe campaigns 
of Fribourg and Nordlingen, and whose disposition ' for 
wit and cheerful humour ' he found peculiarly accept- 
able. As for the moral principles of the Comte de Guiche, 
they were emphatically those of his time and condition. 
M. le Due took no exception to them; the society of 
the burghers of Dijon having only heightened his appre- 
ciation of the company in which he now found himself. 
The principal achievement of the campaign of 1640, 
on the northern frontier, was the taking of Arras by 
the French, after a seven weeks' siege ; in the course 
of which, Enghien accomplished his first exploits or 
' premieres armes '. A young Gascon gentleman, the 
Comte de Chavagnac, who was present in the camp, 
tells of the Duke's arrival, on the staff of La Meilleraye, 
and of the honours done him ; how the ' maitre de 
camp ' appointed him (Chavagnac) and three others 
to act as an informal body-guard to M. de Due ; and 
what a lively occupation they found it. "It must be 
owned ", he says, " that the young prince taught us, 
from the first, to expect nothing short of master- 
strokes ". As the weeks passed, the besieging army 
suffered almost as much from want as the inhabitants 
within the walls. Their supplies were constantly cut 
off by an outer ring of the enemy's force ; till pro- 
visions became so scarce that, according to Chavagnac, 
the infantry officers used to sleep at night under the 

1 Louis-Fran9ois-Potier, Marquis de Gesvres, killed at Thionville, 1643. 

2 Afterwards Due de Chatillon ; born 1620 ; killed at Charenton, 1649. 

3 Born 1604 ; Marshal of France, 1642 ; Due de Gramont, 1644 ; died 


General's table, to make sure of rinding a place there 
in the morning. La Meilleraye kept the Duke, for the 
most part, in his own company. " M. le Marechal 
obliges me on every possible occasion, and takes very 
particular care of me", is Enghien's account to the 
Prince ; but he was not anxious to be treated differently 
from his fellow- volunteers, and refused the guard of 
honour which the authorities would have placed before 
his lodging. The Marshal, on his side, was not less 
satisfied with his charge. Personal courage he would 
probably take more or less for granted, in a Bourbon ; 
but quickness, and capacity for hard work, he had not 
looked for. He was lost in astonishment before a 
Prince who surveyed fortifications for pleasure, and 
who would scarcely leave the trenches to eat or sleep. 
His reports prompted a gracious message from Richelieu 
to Madame la Princesse. " M. d'Enghien behaves 
in the army with all the intelligence, judgment, and 
courage that she could wish ". The same letter 
describes further how, a few days before, an officer 
had been wounded, and his horse killed, so near the Duke 
that he was covered with blood ; and how nothing 
would induce him to leave M. de la Meilleraye at any 
dangerous post, however earnestly the Marshal himself 
might persuade him ; all of which information may 
have gratified the Princess as much as was intended, 
and certainly caused her agonies of anxiety. The 
message concludes with a complacent reference to 
Mademoiselle de Breze. " You will also tell Madame la 
Princesse that war does not prevent his thinking of love ; 
he is constant to his mistress, and had sent a gentleman 
with a message to her ; whom I stopped here, though 
I sent the letter on ". Enghien's own statement regard- 
ing this sentimental correspondence, in a letter to his 
father, is as follows : " I have also written to Mademoi- 
selle de Breze ; I had not intended that M. de la 
Roussiere should go as far as Paris ; but M. de Maigrin 
told me that I should oblige M. le Cardinal extremely 
by sending him to Mademoiselle de Breze ; which I have 
done, believing that you would think it best ". l M. de 
Maigrin, whose name often appears in this connection, 
was a creature of the Cardinal's, whom he had attached 
to the Duke for the express purpose of observing him, 
and prompting the necessary civilities. 

1 A.C., 1640. 

1 640] SIEGE OF ARRAS 25 

Throughout the siege it was the especial joy and 
pride of the ' volontaires ' to be sent out to meet and 
protect the convoys of provisions. On these occasions 
there was always a chance that some sharp fighting 
would be met with. Enghien himself relates his first 
experience of the kind ; when La Meilleraye, with 
3000 horse, encountered the same number of the enemy, 
" whom he charged to so much purpose that we routed 
them utterly after being engaged with them for more 
than half an hour ". " I am greatly obliged to M. 
d'Estaing", he continues, " for he never left me; 
and to Messieurs de Maigrin and Francine 1 also ". 
" Messieurs de Nemours, Luynes, Gesvres, Grancey, 
and several other volunteers distinguished themselves ". 
" We lost fifty men, besides some officers and volun- 
teers "* Gesvres was noted in this encounter for leading 
a charge after he had been severely wounded. Wit- 
nesses were not wanting who said that M. le Due 
deserved at least as much credit as some of the friends 
whose names he mentions. <( He was as much dis- 
tinguished by his courage as by his rank ", was the 
opinion of those who could imagine no higher compli- 
ment. Of another skirmish, which occurred a few 
days later, the Duke again sends an account to his 
father ; this time, however, not written with his own 
hand, " because " he says in apology " I am very 
tired, from having slept five nights on the ground, 
behind the lines, waiting for an attack, and from going 
to meet the convoy, and from wearing armour for five 
hours while the fight lasted ; but I have dictated it 
to Duru just as I saw it ". 3 These hardships notwith- 
standing, it was evident that M. le Due thoroughly 
enjoyed his surroundings. He was captivated, not 
only by the actual excitement of battle, but also by 
the science of war ; here were indeed for him ' Des 
secrets inconnus, dont tu seras epris '. His letters are 
full of maps, and plans of fortifications, which he has 
drawn up. After the surrender of the town he writes 
that they haye sung a Te Deum ; and in the same 
breath, " I will send you the plan (of Arras) as soon 
as possible ; but I want it to be very exact ". 
Mademoiselle de Breze was thankfully forgotten ; except 
when M. de Maigrin insisted on bringing her to mind. 

1 Esquire to the Due d'Enghien ; died at Thionville, 1643. 
2 A.C., July 19, 1640. 3 A,C., 1640. 


The capitulation of Arras had one great disadvantage 
in the eyes of M. le Due. It put an end to campaigning 
so far as he was concerned, and left him face to face 
with the prospect of his approaching marriage. All 
arrangements were being made for the wedding to take 
place early in the following year. Enghien's feelings 
on the subject had been well known from the first; 
so much so, that the Prince's attitude seems to have 
caused some remark, even in that age of political 
marriages. Mademoiselle de Montpensier, his cousin, 
voices the general opinion when she writes of " M. le 
Due, who only consented to the affair with great 
reluctance, and because he was afraid of displeasing 
his father. He (the Prince) had always kept him at 
Dijon, giving him nothing, and allowing him no liberty "- 1 
It had been decreed that Enghien should not make 
any stay in Paris till the last moment before the cere- 
mony ; Richelieu did not feel assured enough of his 
submission to leave him at the Hotel de Conde, exposed 
to an atmosphere of culture, romance, and intrigue. 
But it was not long before the Duke was finally con- 
vinced that, for the moment, nothing was left to 
him but acquiescence. He knew that he had, as 
yet, no friends of his own powerful enough to offer 
him support in resistance ; even in his household he 
was surrounded by spies, creatures of his father and 
of the Cardinal. His personal ambition, and the 
worldly wisdom of Lenet, worked together till he 
resigned himself to his fate. Lenet pointed out forcibly 
that rebellion at this juncture would ruin his hopes 
of advancement for ever ; that Richelieu could effect- 
ively prevent his being given any chance of distin- 
guishing himself in the future. Another Bourbon 
Prince, the Comte de Soissons, had never prospered 
since he refused an alliance designed for him in the 
same quarter. Enghien's objections to the marriage 
had not been primarily on sentimental grounds ; and 
he was unwilling to sacrifice his career, that career 
of which Arras had given him an enchanting foretaste, 
merely for the sake of an aversion to Richelieu and 
his designs. Nevertheless, as the days went on he 
became so visibly depressed that a warning was brought 
to the Cardinal, who immediately sent one of his 
most intimate agents, the Comte de Chavigny, to make 
1 Montpensier, Mlmoives. 


observations. Enghien gives his own version of the 
interview : "I think I ought to tell you ", he writes 
to the Prince, " that M. de Chavigny came to see me 
yesterday, and sent word that he had something 
important to say to me ; which was that a gentleman 
had told him of a rumour that I was opposed to this 
marriage, and had no liking for Mademoiselle de Breze ; 
and that it was observed I wore a melancholy face ". x 
Pride and expediency alike forbade the Duke from 
admitting as much, now that his mind was made up. 
" I told him I had never been more cheerful *\ 

The delight of the Prince and the Cardinal in their 
joint scheme found vent in magnificent preparations 
for the wedding. One slight and characteristic 
difficulty occurred when it was discovered that 
Richelieu, on giving his niece her dowry, had cut her 
out of his will ; but the Prince, while appearing to 
yield to this arrangement, secretly prepared a pro- 
testing document, which he intended to be brought 
forward at the Cardinal's death. Thus, as a French 
historian has pointed out, " each party was convinced 
that he had deceived the other ", and the harmony 
was complete. 2 The festivities, designed by Richelieu, 
opened on January i4th, 1641, when the ( fiancailles ' 
or betrothal ceremony took place in the King's apart- 
ments, as was the custom for Princes of the Blood. 
On the same day, at the Palais-Cardinal, before the 
King and Queen and their whole Court, a dramatic 
representation was given, followed by a ball. The 
play was Mirame, written, in part, by no less a person 
than Richelieu himself ; and the great statesman is 
reported to have been so well satisfied with his own 
work as to lead the applause. At the fall of the curtain 
the stage was cleared, and transformed into a ball- 
room ; while, by some triumph of ingenuity, a gilded 
bridge unrolled itself, leading to the box in which the 
Queen sat, that she might walk down it, to open the 
ball. M. le Due, the central figure of the day, was 
her partner ; he bore himself as cheerfully as anyone 
present, but it was noticed that he looked very white. 
As for the twelve-year-old bride, her usual ill-luck did 
not desert her. She had been dressed for the occasion 
in all the splendour possible, with many jewels, a long 

1 A.C., 1640. 

2 Homberg et Jousselin, La Femme du Grande Cond6. 


gown, and a pair of abnormally high heels, which it 
was hoped would give her dignity. The natural result 
was that, in dancing a ' courante ', she tripped and 
fell headlong, while the whole company laughed, 
not excepting the bridegroom, who was little disposed 
to consider her feelings, and felt himself still further 
aggrieved by her awkwardness. None of the guests 
were inclined to make much allowance for a child, 
her uncle's niece, who had been brought straight from 
the country to make a marriage which a Princess would 
not have despised. The Prince, her father-in-law, 
alone felt bound to take up a more encouraging line ; 
he went from one to another extolling her, and ex- 
claiming dutifully, ' Est-elle assez jolie ! ' Another 
entertainment, not less impressive, was given to cele- 
brate the signing of the marriage contract, on February 
9th. Here a most elaborate allegorical ballet was 
arranged, having for its subject l La Prosperite des 
Armes de la France '. All the youth of the Court 
took part in this performance, which was also adorned 
by " the finest mechanical contrivances that had ever 
been seen in France". 1 M. le Due appeared in two 
of the figures. In the first he represented Jupiter 
descending from the heavens, by means of one of these 
marvellous ' machines '. In the second, he took the 
part of a demon. This latter role was particularly 
successful ; he played it " with an air, an enjoyment, 
and a grace, which gave him the advantage over all the 
others ". The Cardinal's gratification knew no bounds. 
" His Eminence was never seen in better humour ", so 
Henri Arnauld, Bishop of Angers, writes to his friend 
Barillon ; " he made everyone dance, even Madame 
d'Elbeuf the Dowager, the good lady of Ventadour, and 
Madame la Chancelliere ". 2 Of Henri de Bourbon, 
Arnauld adds, " Monseigneur le Prince fit merveille ". 

Among such rejoicings the marriage contract was 
signed of the " Treshault et puissant Prince, Mon- 
seigneur Louis de Bourbon, Due d'Anguien, Pair de 
France", and " Mademoiselle Claire Clemence de Maille 
de Breze, fille d'Urbain de Maille de Breze, Marechal de 
France ". The document gives an imposing list of those 
" present in their persons " ; headed by the " treshault 
tres-puissant et tres excellent Prince, Louis, par la 
grace de Dieu, Roy de France et de Navarre " ; who, 

1 Lenet, Mtmoires. 2 * MS., Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 


' better to make known his pleasure in the said marriage, 
and the honour of the said Seigneur Due d'Anguien in 
being of his own Blood and lineage ", gives to the 
bridegroom a sum of 150,000 ' livres'. The " tres- 
illustre et Eminentissime Monseigneur Jean-Armand, 
Cardinal-Due de Richelieu et de Fronsac ", gives to 
" the said lady, his niece ", 300,000 ' livres ', and several 
estates ; the money, it is carefully stipulated, may be 
employed for paying off ancient debts in the Houses of 
Conde and Montmorency. The Prince and Princess of 
Conde give their son 80,000 ' livres/ and the yearly 
revenue of certain lands ; besides solemnly declaring 
him the heir of their remaining possessions. Other 
witnesses whose names find a place in the contract, 
were the " Treshault et puissant Prince, Gaston, fils de 
France, Due d'Orleans, de Chartres, et de Valois ", the 
King's brother, and the ' Monsieur ' l of the Fronde ; 
and with him, a deeply-interested spectator, the 
' excellent Princess ' his daughter, Anne-Marie-Louise 
de Bourbon, heiress of Montpensier. ' La Grande 
Mademoiselle ' was then a lively, high-spirited child of 
thirteen, who, as some thought, might with advantage 
have taken the place of the bride. She would certainly 
not have suffered from any lack of self-confidence. 
Two days later the same Royal guests attended the 
blessing of the marriage in the private Chapel of the 
Palais-Cardinal. Compared with the signing of the 
contract this ceremony was passed over very quietly ; 
scarcely anything is recorded of it, beyond the fact 
of its having taken place. Viewing the circumstances, 
it was perhaps appropriate that the religious element 
should not be made too prominent. ! 

This was M. le Due's last appearance in public for 
many weeks. It appeared that he had caught cold 
during one of the rehearsals for the ballet ; and the 
result, joined, as it was freely said, to the vexation 
caused him by his marriage, was an illness so serious as 
to endanger his life. For a time it seemed as though 
he might never be the subject of any further political 

1 Saint-Simon (ed. Cheruel, vii. 160-170) makes an exhaustive digression 
on the Court titles of ' Monsieur ' (brother of the King), ' Madame ' (wife 
of Monsieur), ' Mademoiselle ' (eldest unmarried daughter of Monsieur), 
and others of the same kind, which came into use during the seventeenth 
century. He attributes them to no historic origin, and affirms that, 
" distinguished though they seem, they have neither foundation nor ad- 
vantages, and arose only by chance ". 


designs. Richelieu, who had been building on their 
relationship, and to whom the Duke's death, at that 
moment, would have been a heavy blow, showed great 
anxiety about him. Arnauld writes that " His Emin- 
ence arrived (in Paris) this evening, and went instantly 
to see Monseigneur d'Enghien, who is very ill ; the 
doctors do not despair of him". 1 Such haste was 
evidently looked on as a mark of almost awe-inspiring 
consideration. Enghien, however, was in too prostrate 
a condition to be much impressed, even by a visit from 
the Cardinal in person. His illness seems to have been 
not unlike a severe form of the modern influenza, and 
was complicated by such acute depression of spirits 
that his doctors, who belonged to an age when nervous 
cases were not recognised, began to fear that his brain 
was permanently injured. A month from the date of 
Arnauld 's letter, Bourdelot, one of these doctors, writes 
to the Prince that " M. le Due can now go into another 
room for two or three hours every afternoon ". 2 A few 
days later, he is able " to go and watch the horses in the 
riding school"; and writes himself protesting that he 
is perfectly well, but for ' une foiblesse aux jambes '. 
At the same time the medical report complains that he 
would still speak to no one, and steadily resisted all 
attempts to amuse him. Above all, he was made 
miserable by the news that a fresh campaign was 
opening on the frontier, and " by listening to the pre- 
parations for war, when he himself had no hope of 
taking part in it". 3 His only distraction was to hear 
the ponderous romances and histories of the time read 
aloud, from morning till night. A list of the volumes 
supplied to M. le Due during his illness and con- 
valescence, gives some idea of the hours that must have 
been thus occupied ; it includes Romant de VAriane 
(in twelve books), Romant d'Albanie, Romant de 
I'lndamire, Romant de Melusine ; besides eight books of 
Histoire Africaine, Stratonice, and Bacon's History 
of Henry VII. Bourdelot states further that he cannot 
say whether the continual reading really occupied his 
patient's mind, or whether he only made it serve as an 
excuse for not speaking. 

Towards the end of April, Enghien 's energetic 

1 * MS., Bibliotheque Nationale. 

2 A.C., Bourdelot to Henri, Prince of Conde, 1641. 
8 Lenet, Memoires. 


temperament at last asserted itself, and he grew sud- 
denly better ; his friends were made welcome again ; he 
" talked and laughed with as good a grace as before he 
fell ill ", and showed that " his powers of reasoning were 
stronger than ever ". 1 Questioned by his doctors, he 
admitted that only the first ten days of his illness were 
quite distinct in his mind. Of the days that followed, 
he assured them that he had nothing but a confused 
memory ; and although, for the greater part of the time 
he had had no fever, yet he could not so much as recall 
some of the delusions from which he was told he had 
suffered. Bourdelot records all these impressions in a 
letter to the Prince ; showing that, however unimpaired 
the Duke's intellect might be, his nervous organisation 
was at no time one to be trifled with. 

On Ascension Day (May, 1641) M. le Due was suffi- 
ciently recovered to assist at the full length of the 
ceremonies in Notre-Dame ; where he was seen by 
the whole congregation, " while everyone blessed God 
for his health ". The yearly campaign on the northern 
frontier was not too far advanced for him to join La 
Meilleraye at the siege of Aire ; and the Cardinal, 
as a sign of goodwill and joy at his recovery, presented 
him with two horses and a suit of armour before he set 
out. But, as it proved, the Duke's second campaign 
offered small chance of distinction to anyone engaged in 
it ; and in a few weeks it became evident that his health 
was still unequal to much strain. Soon after the 
capitulation of the town, Richelieu writes to the Prince 
that " the fear lest M. d'Anguien might fall ill obliged 
me to ask him to go and drink the waters of Forges". 
The Cardinal undertakes entire direction of his nephew's 
movements, and orders him from Forges to Paris and 
finally to join his wife at Merlou, a country estate of the 
Montmorency family. Here they were detained for 
some time, as the little Duchess fell ill of small-pox. 
M. le Due writes to his father, announcing that " la 
petite yerole est venue a ma fame " ; but that the 
attack is very slight, and the doctor assures them that 
Madame la Duchesse will not be marked. Merlou, and 
his wife's society, did not offer an enlivening prospect 
to the Duke. Later in the autumn he urges a 
request for fresh instructions, adding suggestively 

1 A.C., Montreuil to Henri, Prince of Conde, April 23, 1641. Montreuil 
was the second doctor in attendance on the Duke. 


that the Duchess has been quite recovered for more 
than a month ; and " now that the weather is cold the 
country begins to be very disagreeable for ladies 'V 

Henri de Bourbon did not regret an excuse for 
keeping his son away from the society and influence 
of the Court. He feared nothing so much as that 
Enghien, once given the opportunity, might use his 
undoubted gifts to create an independent position 
for himself. " Believe me, a life in Paris, in the absence 
of M. le Cardinal and myself, is most harmful to him ", 
he writes to Richelieu's secretary ; and he was warmly 
seconded, on moral grounds, by the Duke's confessor, 
Father Mugnier, who pronounced uncompromisingly, 
" Le sejour a Paris, et a 1'hostel de Conde, ne vaut rien 
du tout a Monseigneur le Due ". Enghien, to judge by 
his letters, was still all submission in words ; but it did 
not take him long to discover that he might now be able 
to raise a few difficulties for his uncle-in-law. The 
correspondence between Richelieu and the Prince begins 
to show some slight misgivings as to how far their 
authority might extend. Already the Cardinal had 
found the system of spies failing him. Maigrin, his 
chief agent in the Duke's household, was not only a man 
of low character but an unskilful tactician. He had 
not the intelligence necessary for deceiving M. le Due ; 
who, having once found him out, made a practice of 
misleading him by fictitious confidences. Strife was 
inevitable, in such an establishment, between Enghien's 
own retainers and the hired informers who were thrust 
in amongst them ; and a climax was reached when 
Maigrin fell in a duel by the hand of one Damours, a 
former servant of the Prince, and now the Duke's 
' maitre-d 'hotel '. No one accused Enghien of con- 
nivance ; but, while expressing polite concern over the 
incident, he took no measures for delivering up Damours 
to justice. Richelieu wrote indignant letters, com- 
plaining of the " great disorder, and want of dignity, 
in the household of M. le Due ". He was, however, 
sufficiently warned by experience to appoint a new 
gentleman-in- waiting of a wholly different stamp, as 
successor to Maigrin. Cesar de Cotentin, Comte de 
Tourville, seems to have been one of the very few 
upright men chosen to associate with Enghien in his 
youth ; he won the Duke's confidence, and tried 

1 A.C., November, 1641. 


honestly to keep him from offending the Cardinal past 
all forgiveness. 

Possibly Richelieu might have taken the fate of 
Maigrin less to heart if he had had reason to be satis- 
fied with his nephew on other grounds. But a more 
serious and deeply-seated grievance than any dispute 
concerning the household, was M. le Due's persistent 
and open neglect of his wife. On this point the Car- 
dinal found himself, for a time, quite powerless. 
Enghien had so far prevailed with his relations that 
the Hotel de Rocheguyon was now granted to him for a 
residence in Paris. The Prince, unwillingly persuaded 
into this further expense, had fitted his son's house 
with " the meanest possible decorations " ; which 
Richelieu supplemented by lending furniture of his 
own. Here the Duke and Duchess were no sooner 
established, in a style ' plus propre que magnifique ', 
than Enghien began to take the place for which he was 
well qualified, at Court and in society. As a sign of 
growing independence, he now attended the more im- 
portant debates in Parliament ; he sent messages of 
condolence or congratulation on his own account to 
other princes whenever etiquette demanded it ; also he 
made a point of receiving men of letters, ' very agree- 
ably ', in his own house. 1 The Duchess, on the other 
hand, was scarcely seen in public at all ; her husband 
ignored her, and his family, for the most part, followed 
his example. Henri de Bourbon, who might otherwise 
have protected her interests, was conducting a cam- 
paign in Roussillon ; and it was evident that the Duke 
would take commands from no one else. 

Madame la Princesse, in spite of her husband's 
example, showed no inclination to take up the cause 
of her daughter-in-law ; being, indeed, not a little 
bored by her company, and inclined to sympathise with 
her son. Her own circle, where she delighted to 
welcome him, included all the most celebrated figures 
from the * salons ' of the time ; men and women whose 
accomplishments and adventures have filled volumes. 
Not the least conspicuous of her intimate friends was 
Marie de Gonzagne, Duchesse de Nevers, afterwards 
Queen of Poland, the heroine of Cinq-Mars' romance. 
Foremost among the orthodox ' precieuses ' who 
adorned the Princess's coterie were Madame de Ram- 

1 Lenet, Memoires, 


bouillet 1 and her daughter Julie ; 2 of the latter, Talle- 
mant des Reaux asserts that " no woman's beauty 
had been so much praised by poets since the days of 
Helen of Troy". Next to these, Madame de Sable 3 
was perhaps, more than any other, the presiding genius. 
She was the promoter of all the most exalted ideas of 
Jove, chivalry, and friendship, in the high-flown style 
known as the ' genre Espagnole ' ; and as, in the words 
of one who knew her, " she was able to give weight to 
her sentiments by her intelligence, as well as by her 
beauty, she gained great authority ".* It must be 
owned that this authority did not reach beyond matters 
of conversation ; her theories were more discussed 
than practised, by the majority of her listeners. Cor- 
neille was the great writer of this coterie ; Voiture, 
Benserade, and Sarrazin, the minor poets. Mademoiselle 
de Scudery has drawn most of its members in her once 
famous romance of Le Grand Cyrus. The original of 
the Great Cyrus himself is none other than the Great 
Conde, as he appeared in early life ; and his companions- 
in-arms at Rocroy, Fribourg, and Nordlingen, may be 
recognised under such disabling titles as ' Tigrane ', 
' Art abase ', ' Adusius ', and ' Artibie '. There, too, were 
the beauties of a younger generation than Madame de 
Sable* ; Mademoiselle de Bourbon and her friends ; 
her two cousins, Marie-Louise and Isabelle de Mont- 
morency-Boutteville, 5 and the sisters Anne and Marthe 
Poussart de Fors du Vigean. Isabelle de Montmorency 
and Marthe du Vigean rivalled, or it was even said 
surpassed, Anne de Bourbon in loveliness and charm. 
Madame la Duchesse was not likely to shine in their 
society ; she who so Mademoiselle de Montpensier 
asserts " was so childish that, two years after her 
marriage, she still played with dolls and was despised 
and ill-treated by the whole family of Monsieur son 
mari ". The young men, surnamed, collectively, ' les 
damoiseaux ', who were privileged to flirt, and play 
intellectual games, within this exclusive circle, were 

1 Catherine de Vivonne, daughter of the Marquis de Pisani ; married 
Charles d'Angennes, Marquis de Rambouillet. 

2 Julie d'Angennes ; born 1607 ; married 1645, Charles de Sainte- 
Maure, Due de Montausier. 

3 Madeleine de Souvre ; born 1602 ; married Philippe de Laval-Mont- 
mo rency, Marquis de Sable. 

4 Motteville, Memoires. 

5 Daughters of Fra^ois de Montmorency, Comte de Boutteville, the 
famous swordsman who was beheaded for duelling, 1627. 4 

i6 4 i] " LES DAMOISEAUX " 35 

not unworthy of the honour. Two of their number, 
Enghien himself, and the young cousin who was after- 
wards known as the Due de Luxembourg, 1 ' le tapissier 
de Notre-Dame ', lived to take rank among the greatest 
soldiers of their time. Beside them were many who are 
extolled by their contemporaries for their courage, no 
less than for their good looks, but whose promise of 
youth was not to be fulfilled ; Coligny, Laval, 2 Pisani, 3 
Chabot, 4 La Moussaye, 5 and others " who died in their 
glory, and never were old ". Of the two brothers 
Coligny, Maurice, 6 the elder, was the devoted admirer 
of Mademoiselle de Bourbon ; Gaspard, of Isabelle de 
Montmorency. Enghien himself, in spite of a reputa- 
tion for heartlessness, had developed a romantic passion 
for Marthe du Vigean, a girl of eighteen, surpassingly 
beautiful, and who, almost alone among Madame de 
Sable's disciples, had actually made the principles of 
the ' genre Espagnole ' a rule of life. Richelieu, hearing 
of this most definite peril, immediately decided that 
Enghien must stay in Paris no longer. For the moment 
it was useless to expect any consideration from him 
towards Madame la Duchesse. The Hotel de Roche- 
guyon was closed. The Duchess was sent to school, to 
the Carmelites of St. Denis ; and the Duke to pass 
some months under the personal supervision of the 
Cardinal at Narbonne and at Bourbon, where it was 
not long before a fresh cause of disturbance arose. 

This last, and most obstinate, encounter between 
the prince of twenty and the statesman of fifty-eight, 
was brought about by a matter, apparently trivial, but 
capable, at that date, of arousing the strongest feelings 
of all concerned. The point at issue was whether a 
Cardinal, a Prince of the Church, was justified, as 
such, in taking precedence of a Prince of the Blood. 
Richelieu's own position was independent ; by virtue 

1 Frai^ois de Montmorency-Boutteville, son of the Comte de Boutteville. 
The nickname of "le tapissier de Notre Dame" was bestowed upon him 
from the number of trophies won by him in the later wars of Louis xiv, 
and hung in the Cathedral. 

2 Guy de Montmorency-Laval-Bois-Dauphin, Marquis de Laval ; eldest 
son of Madame de Sable ; born 1622 ; killed at Dunkirk, 1646. 

3 Leon d'Angennes, Marquis de Pisani, only son of Madame de Ram- 
bouillet ; born 1615 ; killed at Nordlingen, 1644. 

4 Guy-Aldonce, Chevalier de Chabot ; killed at Dunkirk, 1646. 

6 Fran9ois de Goyon de la Moussaye, aide-de-camp to the Due d 'Enghien 
at Rocroy ; died at Stenay, 1650. 

6 Maurice de Coligny, killed in a duel by the Due de Guise, 1644. 


of his secular office he took a place above the Princes ; 
and Enghien, who owed him the additional deference 
of a nephew, had never made the slightest objection to 
yielding it. But when it appeared that an order had 
been issued, by which he was required to give way to 
the ' Eminences ', all and sundry, who congregated 
under Richelieu's roof at Narbonne, he refused to 
submit. It was here that his future enemy, Mazarin, 
then the newest of Cardinals, first crossed his path. 
" Cardinal Mazarin has obtained an order from the King 
to pass before Princes of the Blood ", so Enghien 
writes. " I spoke to M. le Cardinal (Richelieu) about 
it, but he did not give me a very favourable reply". 1 
Richelieu threw all the weight of his influence into the 
scale in support of the new order ; but M. le Due was 
firm. To all remonstrances he answered, in terms of 
polite defiance, " I will do all that M. le Cardinal tells 
me to do ; I have no other fervent wish than to 
obey him in everything ; but I do not believe that he 
would lay this command on me, against my honour' 1 . 
To his father he wrote, less elaborately, " I will not 
give place to him (Mazarin) for an}' orders I have from 
them, until I have yours ". 2 

At this crisis even Henri de Bourbon wavered in 
his allegiance to the Cardinal. The thought that a 
question which might affect his own rank was at stake, 
actually forced him into some show of resistance. He 
succeeded, at length, in arranging a compromise ; but, 
unfortunately, without consulting M. le Due as to 
the conditions. Mazarin, at least, was vanquished ; 
Richelieu undertook that the claim should be waived, 
and the new order suppressed. In return he demanded 
that Enghien should recognise his duty as a nephew, 
by yielding precedence not only to himself, but also 
to his brother, Cardinal Alphonse du Plessis de Riche- 
lieu, known as the Cardinal of Lyons ; a man who, 
apart from his sacred office, had no claim to distinction 
whatever. As a punishment, this condition was most 
ingeniously contrived, and quite worthy of its originator. 
To make certain of its prompt fulfilment, Richelieu 
pointed out that the Duke, who had been allowed to 
take part for a few weeks in a somewhat uneventful 
campaign in Roussillon, would pass by the residence 

*A.C., 1641 ; the Due d'Enghien to Henri, Prince of Conde. 
2 Ibid. 


of Cardinal Alphonse on his return ; and would thus 
have an opportunity of paying him his respects. Word 
was sent to the Cardinal of Lyons ; who, in his elation 
at the prospect of being visited by M. le Due, and 
taking precedence of him in the eyes of all the world, re- 
furnished his state apartments and prepared a splendid 
reception. Enghien, when he found what had been 
undertaken for him, was so thoroughly enraged that 
he resolved on a deliberate affront. He passed through 
Lyons, as it had been arranged ; but, to the mingled 
dismay and amusement of his suite, he absolutely 
declined to meet Cardinal Alphonse or to set foot 
inside his house. On this point he was so determined 
that none of those present dared to argue with him. 
He lodged with the Archbishop, a member of the 
Villeroy family, who entertained him very much to 
his satisfaction ; and an hour or two before his de- 
parture, the Duke's compliments were sent to his 
Eminence of Lyons through a gentleman-in-waiting, 
who, it was reported, delivered the message without 
much show of reverence. There could be no mis- 
taking the studied nature of the insult ; and Richelieu, 
as soon as it came to his ears, was proportionately 
furious. In vain his attendants tried to calm him by 
urging excuses for Enghien 's conduct, such as his 
youth, and the possibility of his having been led away 
by his companions. Richelieu answered, truly enough, 
that " when youth was as enlightened (aussi^esclairee) 
as in the case of M. le Due, whatever harm he did was 
done by malice and design " ; and that as for his 
companions, none of them had enough power over 
him to persuade him into such a step against his will. 
It was not long before he decided on an appropriate 
revenge. He realised that he could not control the 
Duke by direct influence ; but he could still control 
the Prince, his father, whose parental rights had never 
been disputed. Enghien had made it a principle to 
recognise no authority but that of a Bourbon greater 
than himself; either that of the King or of the head 
of his own House. Richelieu therefore addressed a 
letter to Henri de Bourbon whom he knew to be 
innocent on this occasion accusing him of having 
instigated M. le Due's offence. " I have great reason 
to complain of you, since you instructed your son to 
insult me in my own family, and in my present state ", 


he says, referring to the illness from which he never 
recovered ; "I hope that God will restore me to such 
health as will allow me to protect myself against your 
good- will ". He made it clear that no forgiveness was 
to be looked for until Enghien had publicly humiliated 
himself by travelling back to Lyons, and there visiting 
Cardinal Alphonse, and allowing him to display his 
right of precedence. 

Lenet gives a detailed account of the agitation 
that followed ; how Richelieu, while meditating this 
vengeance, let the Duke suppose that he was pacified ; 
how he (Lenet) and Tourville felt convinced that this 
was not the end of the matter, and did their utmost 
to induce Enghien to make some amends of his own 
accord, telling him plainly, " Monseigneur, on vous 
trompe ". They suggested, among other expedients, 
that he might go to hunt a stag at Rimi, in Bresse ; 
and once there, as they said, he could easily " go some 
fine morning to visit the Cardinal of Lyons, and swallow 
the pill with a good grace ". Enghien, though under 
no illusions as to Richelieu's pretended friendship, 
maintained that he had no intention of going to Lyons 
at all ; but that if he were to choose, he would rather 
be driven to it by force than appear to do it of his 
own free will. Driven to it by force he was, in the 
end, though not without a last struggle. The Prince, 
terrified by open signs of displeasure, came himself 
to Bourbon to fetch his son; he conducted him per- 
sonally as far as Chalons, and saw him embarked, ' in 
the worst possible weather,' on the river Saone, en 
route for Provence, where the Cardinal of Lyons had 
now withdrawn himself. " Those who knew the Duke, 
and his high spirit ", says Lenet, " will have no 
difficulty in believing that all the authority, all the 
prayers, and all the threats of the Prince, were necessary 
to persuade him ". He sought out Cardinal Alphonse and 
gave him the coveted precedence ; dined with him, | very 
sorrowfully ', and returned to join his father at Dijon. 

Henri de Bourbon may well have felt that his 
parental authority would not often be equal to so 
severe a strain. He was said to have regretted the 
humiliation he had forced upon his son when, on the 
very night of Enghien 's return, the news was brought 
to them that Richelieu's life was despaired of. Yet 
he was still so far in the dying minister's power as to 


carry out one more of his wishes. Enghien was sent 
back to Paris, and there was so far wrought on, by his 
father's orders, as to arrive at a temporary reconcilia- 
tion with his wife. Close on two years had passed since 
their marriage, and Madame la Duchesse could no longer 
be treated as a child . She had benefited, both in mind and 
person, by her education at St. Denis; and the Duke, 
though by no means an affectionate husband, ceased, for 
a time, to behave towards her with studied neglect. 

Richelieu lingered for some weeks, and died on 
December 4th, 1 642 . His death gave unquestioned relief 
to Henri de Bourbon, and to many others who had 
lived under his yoke for the last twenty years. Even 
Louis xin, who was already far advanced in his last 
illness, and had only a few months to live, declared 
that now at last he felt himself a King. His subjects, 
from the Queen downwards, showed frankly that they 
too felt themselves delivered from an oppressor. The 
people of Paris gave vent to their satisfaction in ballads 
and songs, describing the Cardinal's triumphant re- 
ception in the infernal regions : 

"A la moiti6 du chemin, 

Caron lui donna la main : 
' Passez, le plus grand monarque, 
Qui fut jamais dans ma barque '. 

Arrive dedans ce lieu, 

Croyant etre a Richelieu, 
Les diablotins, tous en garde, 
Mirent bas leurs hallebardes ". l 

' II est passe ', they sang joyfully. But his influence 
remained ; not less over Enghien 's future than over 
the destinies of France. He had done much, in a short 
space, to ruin the Duke's character in private life ; the 
enforced marriage, together with the example of per- 
petual spying, self-seeking, and deceit, could not but 
have the most disastrous results, from a moral point 
of view. On the other hand, there can be little doubt 
that it was Richelieu who prepared a way for the truly 
magnificent opening of Enghien 's public career. Almost 
with his last breath he advised the King to appoint 
M. le Due as Commander-in-Chief of the army on the 
northern frontier ; an instruction which was punctually 
fulfilled, although the decision was not made known 
until after the Cardinal's death, 

1 * " Receuil de Chansons ", MS., A.C. 




ENGHIEN'S appointment to command the ' army of the 
North ' was proclaimed by Louis xm in February, 
1643. The announcement, it must be owned, was 
received at first with doubtful approval. The new 
General was twenty-one years old ; he had served as a 
volunteer in three campaigns, not one of which was of 
first-rate importance. In the last of these, at the siege 
of Perpignan, he had been the leader of a corps of 
' gentilshommes volontaires ' ; but this was, literally, 
the only responsible military post which had, so far, 
fallen to his share. He had never seen a pitched battle ; 
all his practical experience of warfare had been gained 
in skirmishing and in besieging frontier towns. Such 
sudden promotion was hardly usual, even at that date, 
except in the case of a Royal Prince ; and Enghien, 
Bourbon though he was, could not claim the privileges 
of the reigning House. The drawbacks of the situation 
were so obvious, that not even the King's sanction 
could remove them altogether ; it was urged by more 
than one member of the Council that the Duke was too 
young, and also that his advancement would throw 
more power than could be tolerated into the hands of 
the Prince, his father. Mazarin, who had succeeded 
Richelieu in the Ministry, made a point of supporting 
the King's choice ; he was anxious to conciliate the 
House of Conde, and it was partly owing to his repre- 
sentations that the original scheme held good. He 
agreed, however, as a concession to prudence, that a 
cautious veteran, the Marshal de THopital, 1 should be 
nominated as Enghien 's Lieutenant-General ; with a 
stipulation that " M. le Due was to be guided by him 

1 Frangois de 1'Hopital, Sieur du Hallier ; born 1583 ; died 1660. 



in all matters ". L'Hopital's baton had been a reward 
for the length rather than the brilliancy of his services ; 
he was deliberate in his methods, and possessed of no 
great force of character. If Mazarin seriously expected 
him to exercise a controlling power over the Duke, it 
can only be supposed that he knew little of either of 

Next to L'Hopital in rank among Enghien's officers, 
and far more likely to inspire him with confidence, was 
the ' Maitre de camp general ', Jean de Gassion, 
Huguenot and Gascon ; now in his thirty-fourth year, 
and with eighteen years of military experience behind 
him. A true soldier of fortune, he had served Gustavus 
Adolphus and Duke Bernard of Weimar, not less than 
his own sovereign ; and was renowned as the greatest 
plunderer, or ' degatier ', in the whole French army. 
Gassion was not often seen at Court ; he had scarcely 
an idea apart from his profession. It was told of him 
that Louis xin had one day commanded him to be 
present at High Mass in the Royal Chapel ; and had 
asked him afterwards what he thought of the music. 
" Sire ", answered Gassion in all good faith, " six 
drummers and six trumpeters would have made far 
more noise ". But if he failed in polite accomplish- 
ments, in his own sphere he was invaluable ; his 
promptness, audacity, and resource had been proved 
at every point of an adventurous career. He was 
already known to Enghien ; their first meeting had 
been at Arras. 

Gassion 's rank in the army was that of ' marechal 
de camp ' ; but his present post of ' maitre de camp 
general ' was allowed to carry with it a certain degree 
of supremacy over any other such ( marshals ' with whom 
he might serve. This office of ' marechal de camp ' 
ranked immediately below that of a Lieutenant- 
General ; but a modern authority, the Due d'Aumale, 
has explained the vagueness with which the term was 
sometimes applied. " These General officers", he says, 
" had no fixed duties, and not even a clearly-defined 
grade. They were given such temporary employment 
as the command of a detachment or of some point of 
attack during a siege, or of a certain number of troops 
in action". They had also the right to a voice in the 
council of war. Their title must not be confused with 
that of a ' Marshal of France ', which exalted station 

42 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

was occupied in the ' army of the North ' by L'Hopital 
alone. Claude de Letouf, Baron de Sirot, 1 and Henri 
de Senneterre, Marquis de la Ferte, 2 were, after Gassion, 
the most conspicuous of Enghien 's ' marshals '. Sirot 
was a Burgundian gentleman of no great family pre- 
tensions ; valiant and dependable, with an excellent 
opinion of himself, as his memoirs testify. He also had 
served foreign states, and had fought under Wallenstein, 
and Maurice of Nassau. La Ferte*, though described 
by a seventeenth-century writer as ' full of courage and 
industry ', and by no means inexperienced, was a man 
of a very different stamp. Brought up at Court, and 
not forced into the military profession to earn a living 
with his sword, he looked on these soldiers of fortune 
with envy and suspicion ; his feeling towards Gassion 
in particular was one of the conflicting forces with which 
a commanding officer was obliged to reckon. The 
' marechal de bataille ', whose chief function was ' to 
draw up the army in order of battle, under the General's 
directions ', was Laurent de la Baume-Leblanc, Sieur 
de la Valliere, the father of the Duchess Louise. In 
command of the infantry were the Comte d'Espenan, 3 
charitably spoken of, hitherto, as ' malheureux a la 
guerre ' ; and the Marquis de Persan, nephew of 
L'Hopital, but a devoted follower of Enghien. As for 
M. le Due's own contemporaries and personal friends, 
they were well represented, though in less important 
posts. To one of them, his aide-de-camp La Moussaye, 
we owe the most vivid, and probably the most reliable, 
of the many accounts of the campaign. 

Enghien left Paris in April and journeyed to Amiens. 
Here he was to collect his troops, and observe the enemy 
while awaiting the King's final instructions. Tour- 
ville, Francine, Montreuil, and several other members 

1 Sirot at this time held local rank only as ' marechal de camp/ 

2 Afterwards Marechal-Duc de la Ferte ; born 1600 ; died 1681. 

3 Roger de Bussolts, Comte d'Espenan : 

" Le fidele Espenan, 
Qui tranchait de 1'Achille, 
Au premier patapan, 
Prit son sac et ses quilles ; 

Mais las ! 
Quand il fallut combattre tout s'en alia ! " 

(" La Chanson de Fontarabie ", 1638.) 

It is only fair to add that Espenan was lacking in judgment rather than 
in courage. 


of his private suite, went with him. Among them was 
Father Mugnier, now no longer a tutor ; such an infer- 
ence would clearly have been inconsistent with the 
dignity of a Commander-in-Chief ; but the chaplain 
of M. le Due and the confidential correspondent of Henri 
de Bourbon. " We are rather idle here ", Enghien 
writes to his father on April 21st, 1 " and there is still 
no news of the enemy's plans ". It must be remem- 
bered that Amiens was at that time almost a frontier 
town, since the whole province of Artois, except the 
coast and a few isolated garrisons, was a Spanish 
possession. At the moment when M. le Due assumed 
his command, forces were mustering on either side of 
the dividing line for a decisive attack. Don Francisco 
Melo de Braganza, Governor of the Spanish Nether- 
lands, was not only proving himself a capable soldier, 
but had also gained some credit as a politician. He 
knew well the present weakness of the Government 
in France : a dying King, an infant successor, and an 
unpopular Regency. Nothing could be more favour- 
able to the prospects of an invader. His object was 
to direct the attention of the French General as far as 

Eossible towards the western towns. His own route 
ty eastward, along the frontier as far as the river 
Meuse ; there he was to turn abruptly southwards before 
Enghien could come up with him, and make a deter- 
mined advance upon Paris itself. If the first part of 
this manoeuvre should succeed, the only obstacle in his 
path would be the fortified town of Rocroy; which he 
hoped might be reduced by a few days' siege. 

M. le Due and his staff at Amiens watched daily 
and hourly for tidings. The King's orders, when they 
arrived, were found to be simple and all-embracing. 
Enghien was ' to discover the designs of the enemy, and 
to counteract them '. His Majesty, it was added, could 
give him no more detailed instructions. He was * to 
do what seemed best to him on all occasions ' ; always 
remembering to be guided by the advice of the Marshal 
de L'Hopital, and to embark on no enterprise which 
was not reasonably likely to be successful ; or, as it 
was expressed, ' glorieuse aux armes de Sa Majeste* '. 
Already every possible measure was being taken to 
follow the Spanish General's movements. Gassion had 
been sent to reconnoitre, as far north as Doullens. The 

44 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

Marshal de Quiche, then Governor of Arras, was another 
source of information. He writes to the Duke, towards 
the end of April, that the enemy have their orders to be 
ready to march at short notice : "I will let you know 
all I hear ", he says, " especially as to the time and place 
of their muster. ... I can do no more without being 
on the council of Don Francisco de Melo "- 1 Next day 
he writes that " they have all their troops ready and 
in good order, and are making great preparations for 
some considerable undertaking. If I am to believe 
what I hear, they have designs on this place (Arras) ". 2 
The letter breaks off to ask if the Comte de Toulongeon, 
Guiche's young step-brother, is not presenting a 
' plaisante figure ', in M. le Due's army, with a certain 
new horse, of which he is inordinately proud. Toulon- 
geon, one of the liveliest of Enghien's companions at 
the ' Academic Royale ', was sharing in the campaign 
as a ' gentilhomme volontaire ' ; Tavannes was there 
also, and Laval ; Guy-Aldonce de Chabot shared the 
duties of aide-de-camp with La Moussaye. On April 
24th, more definite tidings are dispatched from Arras ; 
a scouting-party has seen the garrison of Douay evacu- 
ating the town and taking the road to Valenciennes. 
Seven horsemen who know the country, ' brave men, 
and well-mounted ', are to go that night as far as Valen- 
ciennes itself to see whether more troops are passing 
in. There seems no doubt that at last a crisis is immin- 
ent ; ' ils vienent de bonne part '; and Guiche wishes 
fervently "that it may please God to send M. le Due a 
happy and glorious success ". 3 

Melo's strategy had at first produced exactly the 
result he intended ; the French army was preparing 
to resist an attack towards the west. This is evident 
from Guiche's suggestion that he himself was likely 
to be besieged in Arras ; and also from a letter written 
by Enghien on April 26th, in which he mentions 
Landrecies, some thirty or forty miles west of Rocroy, 
as the most easterly point in any immediate danger. 
He was, by this time, fairly well-informed as to the 
strength of the enemy. Four main divisions of Melo's 
forces were guarding the frontier ; the first, under 
the young Duke of Alburquerque, was quartered 
between Bethune and Douay ; the second, in Hainault, 
between Mons and Valenciennes, under a Belgian noble- 

1 A.C., April 19, 1643. 2 A.C., April 20, 1643. 3 A.C. 


man, the Comte de Bucquoy ; the third, under the 
Comte d'Isembourg, between the rivers Sambre and 
Meuse ; and the fourth, the most distant from the 
scene of action, in Luxembourg, under General Beck. 
Melo himself was directing operations from Lille ; and 
at the same place the artillery was collected, in the 
charge of the Comte de Fontaine. Spain, Portugal, 
Belgium, Luxembourg, and Lorraine had furnished 
these commanders ; and the troops were of no less 
cosmopolitan origin ; there were Italian and Walloon 
regiments among the infantry ; Germans and Flemings 
among the cavalry. The flower of the army was, 
beyond question, the native Spanish infantry ; the 
' tercios viejos V whose prestige was then at its height ; 
it was said of them that their ranks had never been 
broken by an enemy. Five of these battalions, number- 
ing each about a thousand men, were included in 
Alburquerque's division. 

While Melo and Fontaine, with the more western 
forces, appeared to be concentrating for the invest- 
ment of Landrecies, Isembourg, whose troops were 
stationed nearest to the source of the Meuse, marched 
upon Rocroy, on the direct route of invasion. At the 
same time Beck was ordered to bring up his division 
in haste from Luxembourg, to serve as a reinforcement. 

So long as the enemy's movements remained in- 
decisive Enghien could find no more central position 
for his headquarters than Amiens ; and there he con- 
tinued until May 9th. By that date it was evident 
that Melo was directing his forces eastward rather 
than westward ; though it still seemed unlikely that 
a point of attack would be chosen beyond Landrecies. 
Enghien accordingly advanced to Peronne, and thence 
to Fervaques, on the river Somme. ' From that time ", 
says La Moussaye, " the Prince (Enghien) began to 
show great impatience to give battle ; preferring, as 
he said, to hazard that much, than to suffer the shame 
of losing any place in these early days of his command ". 
He was only too well aware that the Marshal de THopital 
was not likely to share these views ; therefore he very 
carefully concealed them from him at this stage, and 
confided his intention only to Gassion, " a man to whom 
the most perilous actions were easy ". Between them 

1 Literal translation, ' old thirds '. It had originally been the custom 
for each Spanish infantry regiment to be divided into three parts. 

46 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

they determined to bring L'Hopital so close to the 
enemy that he would have no choice but to fight. 

It was at Fervaques, on May I4th, that Enghien 
received the intelligence which put a final touch to 
his resolve. At last Melo's designs were made clear. 
Isembourg had crossed the frontier, and was laying 
siege to R.ocroy. Melo himself, with Alburquerque 
and Fontaine, had passed by Landrecies and was 
marching in haste to join him. Their united strength 
would amount to twenty-six or twenty-seven thousand 
men. Beck, with a reinforcement six thousand strong, 
was coming up from the east, and had already attacked 
Chateau-Regnault on the Meuse. So much was ascer- 
tained of the enemy ; from Paris came intimations of 
another kind. Henri de Bourbon wrote that the King 
could not live more than a few days ; the power of the 
Regency would be doubtful, to say the least ; and all 
the affairs of the Court were in confusion. Viewing 
these circumstances, he desired M. le Due to hand over 
the command to L'Hopital, and to return at once to 
Paris, where his presence might be useful. A written 
form or ' pouvoir ', transferring the command, was 
enclosed in the letter. The Prince does not appear to 
have had any definite scheme with regard to his son ; 
but a vulture-like instinct made him seek to gather all 
his family together at such a moment, lest any chance of 
advantage should escape. Enghien 's answer is dated 
the same day May I4th. With all due forms of 
respect, but with most unmistakable clearness, he 
refuses to leave his post. His letter, as written by a 
General of twenty-one, five days before his first great 
battle, deserves to be quoted at length. 

" I have received from La Roussiere the letter 
which you did me the honour to write, and I cannot 
express my sorrow at being unable to obey you as 
promptly as I should wish ; you must know that we 
are only one day's march from the enemy, and shall be 
within sight of them to-morrow. I hear on all sides 
that they mean to cross the frontier at Vervins ; they 
are already at Hirson. I ask you to think how deeply 
it would affect my honour if I were to leave the army 
at such a moment. Moreover, I foresee that we should 
lose the support of the whole army if I were to abandon 
them, on the King's death, in full view of the enemy ; 


and I do not see that I, and one esquire, could be of 
much use to you in Paris. But if you thought that I 
should be better able to serve the State and you, alone 
in Paris, than here at the head of twenty-five thousand 
men, all loyally intentioned, I would willingly forsake 
the interests of my honour to do you any service you 
might ask of me. I implore you, Monsieur, to con- 
sider my present opportunity for serving the King, 
the Queen, and yourself, at the head of an army for 
which I can answer as long as I am here ; and also the 
state of affairs if I were to resign ; since M. le Marechal 
de 1'Hopital tells me he fears the troops might disperse. 
I beg of you to let me know plainly what your wishes 
are, and whether you have any particular interest to 
serve ; for there is nothing I will not do for you ". 

Enghien dispatched this letter, and dismissed the 
idea of a further summons from his mind ; knowing 
perfectly well that, before any reply could reach him, 
he would have come up with Melo and delivered his 
final stroke, for better or worse. The assurance with 
which he makes himself responsible for the safety of 
the frontier and the fate of over twenty thousand men, 
is quite sufficiently remarkable ; it would be almost 
incredible, but for the spirit of the age, with its extra- 
ordinary recklessness of human life ; which disposed 
the average young French prince, or nobleman, to look 
on war chiefly as a glorified and particularly exciting 
form of game. Nevertheless, it is probable that M. le 
Due felt the weight of his position more heavily than 
many of his contemporaries would have done ; simply 
in proportion as he was more highly-strung and more 
ambitious. War might be a game ; but it was a 
game in which he would have staked his very soul to 

While the French army advanced from Fervaques, 
passing by Guise and Vervins, Gassion, with a detach- 
ment of two thousand light cavalry, was sent on to 
reconnoitre. His orders were to rejoin the Duke at 
Bossus-les-Rumigny, sixteen miles south-east of Rocroy, 
where a council of war would be held. A letter from 
Enghien to Mazarin, written on May i6th, acknowledges 
tidings of the King's death ; and passes rapidly from 
expressions of formal regret to more practical matters : 

1 A.C., May 14, 1643. 

48 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

" Tomorrow I inarch on Rocroy, which has been 
besieged since yesterday ; the day after to-morrow we 
shall be there. I can assure you that we will undertake 
nothing ill-advised, but we shall do our best to relieve 
the place ll . 1 

Isembourg had begun his operations before Rocroy 
at daybreak on May i3th. Melo, Alburquerque, and 
Fontaine had joined him two days later, and the town 
was surrounded. With a garrison of only four hundred 
men, indifferently provisioned, and an attacking force 
of over twenty-five thousand, the governor, Geoffre- 
ville, was not likely to offer prolonged resistance. 
Melo anticipated that the siege might be an affair of 
three or four days, at longest. The French army he 
believed to be still at some distance ; he was fully 
persuaded of the success of his strategy, and imagined 
that, if Rocroy could be reduced without delay, he need 
fear no further obstacle. The way into France, even 
the road to Paris itself, would be open to him. 

The French council of war was duly held at Rumigny 
on the afternoon of May i7th ; M. le Due, the youngest 
person present, presiding, with the utmost self-pos- 
session, as Commander-in-Chief. Gassion's report was 
the first matter under consideration. Leaving Fer- 
vaques on May I4th, he had led his reconnoitring 
party up to the very walls of Rocroy. The thickly- 
wooded country near the town had sheltered him during 
the night of the i6th. Before daylight he had detached 
a hundred and fifty men, who, acting under his orders, 
flung themselves upon the weakest point in the enemy's 
outworks. The Italian mercenaries, who should have 
been on guard, were so completely taken by surprise 
that, almost before they realised what had happened, 
they were overwhelmed ; and a substantial reinforce- 
ment had been added to the garrison within the walls. 
Gassion, having accomplished this daring manoeuvre, 
drew off with his remaining force, and, still under cover 
of the woods, rejoined Enghien at Rumigny. His 
statement before the Council, as to the position of the 
besieged town, was as follows : 

" Rocroy stands on a small flat plain, surrounded by 
woods and swamps. It can only be approached by 
long defiles (through the woods), excepting from the 


direction of Sevigny (south-east side) where the worst 
part of the passage is less than a mile in length. 
Farther on, this pass widens by degrees, and leans on 
to the plain, where two armies might be drawn up in 
fighting order. But the woods we must first go through 
are so marshy, and the undergrowth so thick, that the 
troops would only be able to pass them in single column 
and with great difficulty ". 

It was at this point that Enghien first openly placed 
himself in opposition to the Marshal de 1'Hopital, 
who, until then, had been allowed to suppose that his 
influence was quite an important factor in the direction 
of the campaign. The Duke had practically determined 
on his own course of action some days before. He was 
resolved, so he told the Council, to hazard everything for 
the relief of Rocroy, and for this purpose they must 
advance with all speed through the defile . The Spaniards , 
he maintained, could not dispute the passage without 
drawing off some of their troops from before the town, 
and so leaving a way open for relief ; while, if the French 
army could pass the defile in safety, Melo must perforce 
accept the challenge, and the result would be a pitched 
battle in the plain. At the same time he laid before 
them the official intimation of the King's death, which 
he had reserved till that moment ; and pointed out that 
the present state of the Government and the great 
danger of invasion, justified him in running all risks 
for the sake of disabling Melo effectually. "L'Hopital 
at first refused to give any kind of sanction to this 
proposal. He conceded, to some extent, the importance 
of saving Rocroy ; but as for the suggestion of offering 
battle, he was dismayed by its rashness. He submitted 
to the council that, in the case of their defeat, the 
frontier would be left defenceless. All that could be 
safely attempted was to keep Melo under observation, 
and to harass him by occasional skirmishes. L'Hopital 
was warmly supported in his opinion by La Ferte, 
Espenan, La Valliere, and La Barre, the officer in 
command of the artillery. Gassion, who had been all 
the while a party to the scheme, seconded the Duke ; 
so also did Sirot, and Persan. Both sides were equally 
persuaded as to the force of their own arguments, and the 
discussion rose high ; till at last Enghien closed it by 
announcing, in a tone which admitted of no appeal, 
that all preparations must be made immediately, 


as they would march on Rocroy the following day, in the 
hope of provoking the enemy to a decisive action. 
L'Hopital, though by no means convinced, was forced 
to remember that the Duke was, in point of fact, his 
superior officer, and gave his consent with a fairly 
good grace. He consoled himself by reflecting that 
the Spaniards would probably dispute the pass, and that 
the engagement might end in nothing more than a 
skirmish among the woods. 

On the same evening Enghien writes to his father, 
giving a brief account of Gassion 's exploit, which he 
describes as ' une tres belle action/ and begs that the 
Queen may be told of it . He is writing further particulars, 
he says, to M. le Tellier. 1 A certain tenseness of style in 
these letters betrays a state of mind which is nowhere 
expressed in words, and which the writer himself was not 
likely to take time to analyse. The whole nervous and 
intellectual force of his nature was concentrated on the 
coming effort. Melo was opposing him, and must be 
defeated at whatever risk or cost of life. Every fibre 
of his being was strung to the highest pitch ; but in the 
face of all that must be done, and done by him, he had 
positively no leisure for conscious excitement. 

Before leaving Rumigny, " the Duke ", says La 
Moussaye, " disposed his army in order of battle, so 
that each one might be prepared for this action, the 
success of which was so important to the honour and 
safety of France ". The fighting strength of this army 
consisted of twenty-three thousand men : sixteen 
thousand foot and seven thousand horse. They were 
to be drawn up in two lines, supported by a reserve 
corps. In the centre was the infantry, commanded by 
Espenan ; the cavalry was on the flanks ; the right 
under Gassion ; the left under La Ferte. Sirot com- 
manded the reserve. Enghien chose his own place on 
the right, between Gassion 's cavalry and the infantry 
regiment of 'Picardy'. L'Hopital occupied a corre- 
sponding post on the left, next to La Ferte. It was part of 
the Duke's intention to place L'Hopital and Gassion 
as far from each other as possible ; passion's energy and 
ability would have had little scope if he had been forced 
to look to the Marshal for orders. 

At daybreak on May 1 8th, the French army started 
on their march. By eight in the morning they were 

1 643] MELO'S DECISION 51 

nearing the entrance to the pass which led through the 
woods of Sevigny on to the plain of Rocroy. Scouting 
parties reported that not an enemy was to be seen in 
the forest ; but that a mounted force had been observed 
in the plain beyond. Everything now turned on the 
question whether the pass itself were held. Gassion, 
ever ready, with an advance guard of fifteen hundred 
horse, was the first to enter the defile. He was to send 
back word if he found it unoccupied. Four hours of 
uncertainty followed. At midday a messenger came 
back at full speed through the pass to say that the way 
was clear. The far end had been watched only by 
vedettes ; who, at the unexpected sight of the French 
squadrons, had abandoned their posts and retreated 
into camp. Enghien immediately gave the word for the 
whole army to pass the defile. He himself, at the 
head of two thousand men, was the first to join Gassion 
on the plain. Espenan followed with the infantry ; 
and the cavalry of La Ferte and L'Hopital formed a 
rear-guard . 

More than one historian of Rocroy has pointed out 
the obvious course which Melo might have been expected 
to follow ; namely, to tell off a detachment to guard the 
pass, while the main part of his army reduced Rocroy. 
The garrison was in no condition to withstand a long 
siege ; while, as for the pass, its natural obstacles were 
such that a comparatively small force might well have 
defended it successfully. Melo, however, was less bent 
on the surrender of Rocroy than on the invasion of 
France ; and for that purpose Enghien 's army must 
be not merely repulsed, but annihilated. The moment 
in which he was called on to decide between an offensive 
and a defensive course, came on him more or less as a 
surprise. Encamped as he was in an enemy's country, 
the movements of the French troops had been hidden 
from him ; till, on this same morning of May i8th, there 
came the startling news that an army was actually 
entering the woods . and that he must either attack or be 
attacked within the next twenty- four hours. A council 
was hurriedly summoned ; and Melo had scarcely 
announced his resolve to stake all his chances on a 
general action, when word was brought him that he 
had no longer any choice. The French were passing the 
defile, and their cavalry was even now taking up a 
position on the plain. Melo at once abandoned all 

52 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

idea of the possibility of checking their advance, and 
applied himself to drawing up his own forces in order of 
battle. Thus for the moment the two Generals seemed 
to be playing into each other's hands. Enghien's 
situation for the next few hours was, had the truth been 
known, a most critical one, and a prompt attack would 
most likely have proved fatal to him. The French 
rear-guard, with the whole of their infantry and artillery, 
was still toiling among the difficulties of the pass ; 
and until it should come up, the Duke and Gassion, 
with a force of some three or four thousand men, were 
entirely unsupported. All they could do, for the time 
being, was to range their squadrons, with the help of 
the ground, in such a way as to hide effectually what 
might be passing in their rear. Melo, fully engrossed 
by his preparations, and thinking it most improbable 
that a large body of cavalry would have advanced so far 
without support, let his real opportunity slip past. 

By six o'clock that evening the last of La Ferte's 
division had emerged on to open ground. The position 
chosen by Enghien was on the crest of a low ridge, 
or ripple, in the plain. To the left was a tract of 
marshy ground, half swamp, half lake, the ' Pond of 
Sainte-Anne ' ; to the right, a small wood, on the 
outskirts of the forest. Along the strip of raised 
ground, between these boundaries, the French righting 
line stretched for a length of just over a mile and a 
half. The troops were drawn up in accordance with 
the orders issued the day before. On the right, fifteen 
cavalry squadrons under Gassion ; on the left, thirteen 
squadrons under La Ferte. In the centre, fifteen 
infantry battalions, each numbering from eight to 
nine hundred men ; and immediately in front of them, 
the artillery, twelve pieces of light cannon, brought 
with great difficulty through the defile. Many of 
these regiments bore historic names ; ' La Marine ', 
' Harcourt ', ' Sully ', ' Roquelaure ' ; ' Picardy ', the 
senior regiment of all French infantry ; ' Piemont ', 
still bearing the black ensign of their first captain, 
Giovanni de' Medici; and the Scottish Guards. Sirot's 
reserve, stationed four hundred paces to the rear, con- 
sisted of four squadrons, the * Gendarmes ', and the 
' Compagnies Royales ', ranged alternately with three 
infantry battalions. 

Below the ridge the ground fell away into a slight 


hollow, and rose again to a corresponding height 
towards the north. Melo adopted the frankly aggressive 
course of drawing up his forces on this northern ridge. 
He had, so far as he knew, no reason to fear the result 
of a decisive battle. His army was superior in numbers ; 
and his infantry was popularly supposed to be in- 
vincible. He was far better supplied with artillery 
than the enemy ; his heavy cannon had only to be 
brought a distance of less than a mile, over nearly 
level ground, to be placed in position. A battery of 
eighteen guns was posted, and in action, on the northern 
rise, between four and five in the afternoon. The 
French troops persevered bravely in taking up their 
positions under a steady fire ; but by the time their 

Infantry BBS 
Artillery -M-H- 


K3E3B ES26J Bo BBS m 53 B KJ K3 S3 S3 <V *~ J 

B3 53 E3 H IB E3 ES a a KB U avnnBK3S3E3K]K3(53SS 


raicacacacaca c 


formation was complete, they had lost from three to 
four hundred men, either killed or wounded ; among 
the latter was Persan, an officer who could ill be spared. 
Taken altogether, the aspect of affairs, as evening 
drew on, was not too favourable to Enghien, and Melo 
may well have congratulated himself on having allowed 
the enemy to come so unreservedly within his grasp. 
The cavalry on both sides was fairly well matched ; 
on the Spanish left, Alburquerque opposed fifteen 
squadrons to Gassion's wing ; Isembourg, with fourteen 
squadrons of the ' cavalry of Alsace ', confronted La 
Ferte. The Spanish centre, or ' corps de bataille ', 
fully assembled, was unquestionably stronger than the 
French ; it included eighteen battalions, numbering 
altogether more than as many thousand men. Fore- 

54 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

most among them were the redoubtable ' tercios viejos ', 
who advanced to their post ' a grand bruit de guerre '. 
Fontaine, their commander, whom some writers have 
called ' Fuentes ', but who was, in point of fact, a 
native of Lorraine, is described as ' one of the first 
captains of his time '. He had seen fifty years of 
service ; and now, " though his infirmities obliged him 
to be carried in a chair, yet he none the less gave his 
orders on all sides ". To right and left of the ' tercios ', 
and in their rear, were the foreign mercenaries : Italians, 
Germans, and Walloons. Melo himself was prepared to 
take up his position on the right wing, with Isembourg. 

The closing incident of the day was provided by 
a sudden, indefensible action on the part of La Ferte ; 
one prompted either by some secret instruction from 
L'Hopital, or by his own desperate eagerness to out- 
shine Gassion. From his place on the left wing he 
could see the walls of Rocroy, not two miles away ; 
temptingly accessible, to all appearance, for the whole 
Spanish force seemed to be concentrating in the plain. 
Without the shadow of an order from his Commander- 
in-Chief he set himself to improve on Gassion's achieve- 
ment of May 1 6th, by passing a larger reinforcement 
into the town. Rocroy, he thought, might then be 
saved, even if the battle were lost. To this end, he 
not only set his own squadrons in movement, but 
ordered up five battalions from the left centre to support 
them, thereby leaving the main body of infantry 
considerably weakened, and with its left flank entirely 
exposed. M. le Due, on the right, discovered that 
some unauthorised movement was taking place, and 
came, with indignant haste, to ask who was responsible. 
He found the foremost squadrons already crossing the 
marsh and skirting the Pond of Sainte-Anne, which it 
was intended should serve them as a protection from 
Isembourg's cavalry. At the same instant Melo's 
bugles sounded ; and the whole of the Spanish centre 
and right wing were seen to advance at a brisk pace. 
Enghien watched them with something like despair 
in his heart. For a moment he could only suppose 
that the enemy had observed La Ferte 's blunder, and 
was taking advantage of it. In an instant all the 
dire consequences presented themselves to his mind. 
The left wing would be cut off, the infantry attacked 
in flank as well as in front ; defeat and disaster seemed 

1 643] NIGHT OF MAY i8ra 55 

inevitable. His first act was to dispatch an aide-de- 
camp, armed with a peremptory message, to call back 
La Ferte. Then, ordering up some of the troops from 
the second line, to repair the weakness of the first, 
he waited, in poignant suspense, for further develop- 
ments. But Melo proved himself, a second time, to 
have no lightning grasp of opportunity ; [< according 
to the Spanish habit of mind " so it was said of him 
" he let the present escape by thinking too much of 
the future ". He had convinced himself that it would 
be wiser not to fight till next day, when Beck and his 
reinforcement might be hourly expected ; and no 
sudden impulse was likely to affect his decision. What 
had seemed to be a general advance was only a move- 
ment of the front ranks, to give more space in the rear. 
The Spaniards came on for a hundred paces and then 
stopped short, just as La Ferte's horsemen/ in some 
confusion, were returning to their place. There could 
now be no further question of an engagement that 
night. The Duke sent for La Ferte, and gave him his 
final instructions, in language which lost nothing for 
want of emphasis. He was to go back to his place on 
the left, and to stay there ; when the time came for 
a general engagement he and L'Hopital were to keep 
Isembourg's cavalry occupied ; but they were to avoid, 
as far as possible, making any decisive attack until 
they were assured that Gassion's wing forced, by its 
position, to bear the brunt of the action -had gained 
a distinct advantage. 

This point made clear, and La Ferte duly humbled, 
Enghien rode slowly back along the lines to the extreme 
right of the ' corps de bataille ', giving a last inspection 
to the troops as he passed. He was received with 
enthusiasm. M. le Due was not destined to be a widely 
popular character in time of peace ; but at such a 
moment as this his inspired and inspiring qualities 
outweighed all others. Truly it might be said of him 
now, as in his schooldays at Bourges : ' Incendit 
omnes '. Tired as they were after a long and harassing 
march, and dispirited by the enemy's fire, the soldiers 
could have had no greater encouragement than the 
sight of him. 

The attack was to be at dawn. Enghien spent the 
night at the bivouac of ' Picardy ', where officers and 
men alike took what rest they could in the short time 


left to them. " Our soldiers ", says Sirot, " lay beside 
their arms, ready to rise at the first sigm ' Enghien 
himself, after eighteen hours of hard work and cease- 
less anxiety, slept the sleep of youth and exhaustion. 
La Moussaye, who was with him, gives an impression 
of the moment ; his words were afterwards used, in a 
famous passage, by Bossuet. " The night ", he says, 
1 was very dark ; but as the forest was near, . the 
soldiers were able to make so many fires that the whole 
plain was lighted by them. The armies were enclosed 
in this ring of woods as though the lists had been 
drawn for them to fight. The stillness of the night 
was unbroken by any alarm ; and on the very eve of 
battle there seemed to be a truce ". 

In the early hours of the morning, before daylight, 
a deserter from the Spanish camp presented himself 
at one of the French out-posts and asked to see the 
Duke. It appeared that he was a Frenchman by birth, 
and his first act was to beg a free pardon for having 
served against his country ; which Enghien granted, 
' subject to the King's good pleasure '. This pardon 
was the price of two pieces of information ; firstly, 
that Beck's division was now very near, and might be 
expected by seven o'clock that morning ; secondly, 
that one thousand Spanish musketeers were ambushed 
in the wood on the right, ready to fire on Gassion's 
squadrons the moment they should advance. There 
was no time to be lost in acting on this intelligence ; 
the French were already outnumbered ; if they were 
to defeat Melo, it must be done before the reinforce- 
ment arrived. One battalion would have to deal with 
the musketeers in ambush ; and Enghien gave the first 
signal to the officers of ' Picardy ', who silently and 
swiftly prepared for the attack. By three o'clock the 
whole army was aroused and ready for action. The 
Duke ' s' etoit laisse armer par le corps ' ; that is to 
say, he wore a cuirass ; but he refused a helmet, 
which he looked on, characteristically, as a mere en- 
cumbrance and " would have no other head-covering 
than his ordinary hat, which was ornamented with a 
plume of white feathers 'V Like the crest of Henri iv 
at Ivry, this plume was afterwards said " to have 
served several times during the day as a rallying-point 
for the squadrons ". " Before entering the fight ", 

1 Gazette de Renaudot, May 27, 1643. 


writes Father Mugnier, " my said lord (the Duke) con- 
fessed himself, and offered to God, with his whole 
heart, the glory of the day "- 1 Here was one of the 
' supreme occasions ' when his early training held good. 
The whole army, M. le Due and his officers at their 
head, received absolution, according to the custom of 
the time, before going into action. 

As soon as it was light, Enghien, dividing the care 
of the right wing with Gassion, led up eight squadrons 
to engage Alburquerque in front ; while Gassion, with 
the remaining seven squadrons, made a circuit round 
the far edge of the little wood, which served as cover 
for his movements, so as to attack in flank at the same 
instant. The ambushed musketeers, scattered by the 
unexpected onslaught of the soldiers of ' Picardy ', 
fled out of their hiding-place, only to fall among the 
horsemen on either side. It was said that not one 
escaped. Gassion 's cavalry was the first sighted by 
Alburquerque, who was in the act of turning to receive 
them when Enghien attacked in front. La Moussaye's 
account of the action at this point is perhaps the 
clearest and most concise. " Alburquerque knew 
nothing as yet of the first engagement (the defeat of 
the musketeers), and had relied entirely on the musket- 
eers hidden in the wood to cover his front line ; so 
that he found his resistance much shaken by this attack. 
He tried to oppose some of his squadrons to Gassion, 
who was coming up to surround him ; but the danger 
of making such an attempt in the face of a powerful 
attacking force was soon apparent. These squadrons, 
already weakened, gave way at the first charge, and 
the whole of Alburquerque 's troops were flung in con- 
fusion one upon the other. The Due d'Enghien, seeing 
them take to flight, ordered Gassion in pursuit, while 
he himself turned short to the left against the infantry ". 

This manoeuvre, devised and carried out by 
Enghien and Gassion, acting in perfect accord, 
proved to be the turning-point of the day. 2 Enghien, 
at the very outset of his career, showed the essential 
qualities of his military genius ; the coolness of tempera- 
ment which could act as a controlling force in the midst 
of the intense nervous excitement and the joy of battle, 
which possessed him and seemed to radiate from him. 

1 Father Mugnier to Henri, Prince of Conde, A,C. t 1643. 

2 See Appendix B. 

58 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

Rocroy might have been another Naseby if Enghien, 
like Prince Rupert, had allowed himself to forget 
everything but the fugitives before him. The French 
cause had been faring badly on the left. La Ferte, 
anxious to regain his lost credit, had waited obediently 
till the right wing was fairly engaged before he advanced 
against Isembourg ; but by that time his powers of self- 
control were exhausted. Zealous and ill-advised as 
ever, he gave the order to charge at too great a dis- 
tance ; his troops, arriving out of breath, and in dis- 
order, were routed by the first discharge from the 
pistols of the ' cavalry of Alsace '. In the confusion 
which followed, La Ferte and L'Hopital made valiant 
attempts to rally their men. La Ferte, twice wounded, 
was taken prisoner ; the Marshal, fighting in the second 
line, was saved with difficulty after his arm had been 
broken by a pistol shot. Isembourg, following up his 
advantage, drove the scattered horsemen before him, 
past the French main position, unarrested by La Barre's 
artillery or by the infantry of the left centre. La 
Barre was killed, and the cannon seized ; ' Piemont ' 
and ' Rambures ' were beaten back with great loss. 
There remained, however, in the rear, and hitherto 
immovable, the three thousand men of the reserve ; 
a contingent not to be lightly disposed of. ' The 
day is not lost ", Sirot answered, when a distracted 
messenger brought him the first news of La Ferte 's 
defeat, " for Sirot and his companions have not yet 

Three hours had now passed since the beginning 
of the action. While such decisive results had been 
obtained to right and left, the centre, slower to engage, 
had been comparatively idle. Espenan, commanding 
the 'corps de bataille J , had advanced to the attack of 
the ' tercios viejos ', who occupied the centre of the 
first line of the enemy's infantry ; and who are described 
as awaiting him, ' avec une fierte extraordinaire '. So 
formidable was their appearance, that Espenan hesi- 
tated to engage them before the cavalry could come to 
his support ; and, observing the flight of La Ferte on 
the left, he drew off after a slight skirmish. Probably 
the Spaniards would have taken matters into their 
hands, and advanced in their turn ; but it was pre- 
cisely at this moment that the combined movement of 
Enghien and Gassion took effect. Turning to the left, 


as he parted from Gassion, the Duke found himself in 
a position to attack the second line of the enemy's 
infantry from an unexpected quarter. These were the 
foreign battalions, who formed the Spanish centre rear. 
Enghien 's cavalry, cutting across the field from right 
to left, disposed of them effectually ; the Germans and 
Walloons were cut to pieces and the Italians routed, 
only the troops of the front line were out of the path 
of the French horsemen, and remained untouched. 
Enghien, reining up in his successful career, found him- 
self confronted by the disaster and confusion of La 
Ferte's wing. On this side of the field, only the reserve 
still held their ground. Sirot had justified his answer ; 
and if he did not win the whole victory single-handed, 
as his memoirs would almost have us believe, he certainly 
contributed largely to it by his firmness and presence 
of mind. 1 He describes a heated altercation with the 
Sieur de la Valliere, who arrived in despair, telling 
him that the battle was lost, and that nothing was left 
but for him to withdraw in good order, as the infantry 
had already begun to do. Sirot refused to retreat a 
step ; evidently not believing that La Valliere spoke 
with authority from head - quarters. Instead, he 
rallied as many of the fugitives as he could lay hands on, 
judging by his own account, this phrase may be 
literally interpreted, and, having boldly engaged 
Isembourg, held him at bay. It need scarcely be 
added that Enghien, when later on he was rejoined 
by Sirot, denied having sent any orders of the kind 
reported by La Valliere. 

" The Duke ", to continue La Moussaye's narra- 
tive, " saw clearly that the result of the battle must 
now depend on the troops which were under his direct 
control at that moment. In an instant he ceased 
following the infantry, and passed on, behind the 
enemy's battalions (of the front line), to attack their 
cavalry, who had been pursuing the left wing ". Thus 
Isembourg, while imagining that only Sirot 's troops 
were left to withstand him, suddenly found himself 
attacked in the rear by the victorious squadrons of M. 
le Due. Taken unawares, with his forces still scattered 
in the pursuit, his discomfiture was complete. La Ferte 
was rescued, the guns re-captured, and the Spanish 
right wing as entirely routed as the left. Many fled 

1 See Appendix B. 

60 ROCROY [CHAP, in 

towards the north, and falling into the hands of Gassion 
received no mercy. Melo escaped ; but his ' baton 
de commandement ' was found on the field, and pre- 
served as a trophy. 

Of the whole Spanish army there now remained 
only the ' tercios viejos ', formed in a square, still 
guarding the artillery, and left standing like an island 
in the midst of the general ruin. Their admirable order 
and their ' fiere contenance ', showed " that they were 
prepared to defend themselves to the last extremity". 
Enghien had just received certain tidings that Beck's 
division was in sight, on the farther outskirts of the 
woods. His own cavalry were few in number, and had 
been fighting desperately for four or five hours ; never- 
theless it was plain that the ' tercios ' must be dealt 
with before Beck could come up. The day might still 
be lost, if six thousand men, fresh and in good order, 
were to be joined to the solid phalanx now before him. 
Every available unit of horse or foot was gathered 
for a supreme effort, and the word given to attack. 
" The Comte de Fontaine waited for the advance with 
great firmness, and would not allow his men to fire 
until the French were within fifty paces. When the 
signal was given, the Spanish ranks opened in an instant, 
and from between them came a discharge of eighteen 
guns, followed by a hail of musket-shot. Their fire 
was so deadly that the French could not resist it ; and 
if the Spaniards had had any cavalry left, to pursue 
their advantage, the French infantry would never have 
recovered themselves. The Due d'Enghien rallied his 
men promptly, and made a second attack, which met 
with no more success than the first ; he charged them, 
altogether, three times, without being able to break 
through their defence". But the Spanish ammunition 
was running low ; their losses had been heavy ; and 
now from all parts of the fields the scattered French 
troops were drawing in. The rescued artillery was 
brought within range. Gassion had returned from his 
pursuit on the right, and Sirot came up with the reserve. 
" Then the Spanish infantry, seeing themselves com- 
pletely surrounded, were forced to yield to numbers. 
The officers began to think of their own safety; and 
the foremost of them signalled with their hats to show 
that they asked for quarter. The Due d'Enghien 
came forward to receive their surrender ; but the Spanish 


soldiers imagined that he was ordering another attack. 
In their error, they fired upon him ; and he was never 
in greater danger during the whole day than at that 
moment. His own troops, furious at this treatment of 
their General, considered that the Spaniards had broken 
faith with them, and avenged the risk he had run by 
a terrible slaughter ". l The shots had scarcely been 
fired when the French troops attacked on all sides and 
the weakened ranks at last gave way. The French 
" came, sword in hand, into the very centre of the Spanish 
square, killing without mercy ". Enghien, having 
grasped the true state of affairs, " went everywhere, 
shouting to them to give quarter ; the Spanish officers 
and the men as well took refuge near him n . The 
captains of three ' tercios ', Castelui, Garcies, and 
Peralta, yielded themselves prisoners to him in person. 
Fontaine, who had fallen before the last attack, was 
found lying dead beside the chair in which he had 
been carried. His death was long regretted by the 
Spaniards ; the French praised his courage, and the 
Prince (Enghien) himself said " that if he had not been 
able to conquer, he would have wished to die like him ". 
Such was the famous last stand of the ' tercios 
viejos ', whose reputation had so long been one of the 
glories of Spain. La Moussaye's description ends with 
a tribute of fervent admiration. ' The valour of the 
Spanish infantry cannot be sufficiently praised, for it 
is a thing almost unheard-of, that after the defeat of 
an army, a body of foot soldiers, unsupported by cavalry, 
should have the courage to stand in the open and wait 
for an attack, not once only, but three times in succes- 
sion, without giving way ; and it may truly be said that 
if the greater part of the reserve had not come to join the 
Due d'Enghien, that Prince, victorious as he was over 
all the rest of the Spanish army, would never have 
broken the ranks of that valiant infantry ". Enghien, 
in the course of his career, was destined to have many 
and varied dealings with the Spanish forces, and to 
gain an exhaustive knowledge of their defects in war ; 
yet, keeping the memory of Rocroy in mind, he held to 
the end of his life that, among brave men of all nations, 
the highest type of courage was to be found in the 
Spaniard. 2 

1 La Moussaye. 

2 Marechal-Duc de Gramont, Memoires. 


The arrival of Beck's division was still momentarily 
expected, and Enghien was reassembling his forces to 
meet him, when from the extreme right came the 
last of Gassion's horsemen. They reported that Beck, 
at the entrance of the woods, had met some of the 
fugitives, who told him of Melo's defeat, and that he 
had thereupon retreated, in such haste as to leave two 
pieces of artillery behind him. " When the Due 
d 'Enghien saw his victory thus assured, he fell on his 
knees on the field of battle, and ordered his troops to 
do the same, to thank God for their success ". Gassion's 
Huguenot principles awoke with the same impulse : 
" Monseigneur ", he said, " you are the most glorious 
Prince in Christendom to-day. Your victory is from 
God ; I will give thanks to Him ". 

The battle had been won in seven hours. It was 
now ten o'clock. The rest of the day was spent in 
calculating the losses on both sides, and in arranging 
for the transport of the prisoners and wounded to 
places of safety. Enghien 's first act, after giving 
thanks for his victory, was to promise Gassion that he 
would ask for him the baton of a Marshal of France. 
Of the Duke himself, the account in the Gazette says 
that " God had preserved him in the midst of the great 
dangers to which he had exposed himself " ; that he 
bore the marks of two musket balls on his cuirass, while 
his horse had been struck twice. La Ferte and 
L'Hopital were both disabled ; Tourville was wounded 
also, but less seriously. The Gazette makes special 
mention of certain officers who distinguished themselves 
by their courage ; notably, the Vicomte de Montbas, 
who, in the earlier charges twice forced his way into 
the Spanish square ; and in so doing was wounded, 
taken prisoner, and finally rescued again. On the same 
list may be found Joachim de Lenoncourt, Marquis de 
Marolles, surnamed ' le Brave ', one of a family of six 
brothers, all of whom died in action. The French loss 
was estimated at two thousand killed and about the 
same number of wounded. 

On the Spanish side, the number of the dead was 
reckoned at the appalling total of eight thousand. 
Seven thousand officers and men were prisoners, most 
of them disabled. The ' tercios ' had perished almost 
to a man. One of the few survivors, a wounded Castilian 
soldier, was asked how many men went to make up his 


battalion; and answered, ''Count the dead". The 
French found themselves placed in some difficulty 
by the almost unprecedented number of their prisoners, 
who had all to be disposed of in neighbouring towns. 
Enghien gave orders for the care of the wounded, 
both his own and the enemy's, "without distinction of 
rank ", says an admiring witness ; and went in person 
to make sure that his instructions were followed. For 
the moment he seems to have been completely up- 
lifted by the greatness of the occasion ; all his best 
qualities were brought into play. Father Mugnier, 
with joy tempered by astonishment, writes of his 
11 seriousness in conversation ", and his " judgment 
and knowledge, which surprise the most experienced 
members of his profession ". 

The gates of Rocroy were thrown open ; the French 
took up their quarters in what had been the Spanish 
camp, under the walls ; the wounded of every nation- 
ality, as many as could be accommodated, were brought 
into the town to be cared for. All honour was paid to 
the dead body of Fontaine, which had been carried 
to the church of Rocroy to await burial ; but before 
night, the Spaniards sent a messenger to ask that it 
might be restored to them. Enghien granted their 
request ; and further, had the body embalmed, and 
sent in his own carriage as far as Mariembourg, where 
Beck had halted, with the remnants of Melo's force. 
With it he sent " all the almoners, Jesuits, and other 
clerics of the Spanish army who had been taken 
prisoners ". 

M. le Due made a triumphal entry into the town of 
Rocroy on the afternoon of May ipth. The date of 
his victory had a pious significance for many of his 
countrymen. " It was observed ", says a contemporary, 
" that this battle was won on the day of the Translation 
of the Head of Saint Louis, one of the Feasts of the 
Sainte Chapelle. And that it was won by a Prince 
who was the descendant of that holy Monarch, and who 
bore his name ". 


1643 (Continued) 

AT the moment when Enghien, on the field of battle, 
was giving thanks to Heaven for his victory, the funeral 
ceremonies of Louis xin were being solemnised at St. 
Denis. Lenet, who was present in the train of Henri 
de Bourbon, describes the impressive scene ; slightly 
marred by the inevitable bickering over some point 
of precedence between the Houses of Orleans and 
Conde. On this occasion the Cardinal of Lyons, 
as ' Grand Almoner ', again played a part ; and came 
near to causing a serious disturbance at the funeral 
banquet, by neglecting to say grace at the table where 
Henri de Bourbon was presiding, in the capacity of 
' Grand-maitre de France'. 

The Prince, at that time, had anxieties great enough 
to distract his mind from all minor slights. On the 
frontier, as he well knew, the fortunes of his own family, 
as well as those of the country, were at stake. The 
latest news of the ' army of Picardy ' dated from two 
days back ; and the growing suspense could be felt on 
all sides, even among events of such supreme import- 
ance as the death of one King, the accession of another, 
and the installation of a foreign Princess Anne of 
Austria as Regent. It was said that Louis xin in his 
last hours had spoken confidently of Melo's defeat, 
which was revealed to him in a vision. " Do you not 
see M. le Due giving battle to the Spaniards ? " he 
asked suddenly of his attendants. " Seigneur Dieu ! 
Comme il les mene 1 " And a little later he added : 
11 I was right to give him the command of my army ; 
though they tried to prevent me ". Naturally enough, 
a few days later, these words were quoted as the result 
of direct prophetic inspiration, " vouchsafed to a 
King whose life was full of holiness ". Lenet is one of 


those who testify to the incident ; but as to its super- 
natural origin he remains frankly sceptical. 

May the igth passed without tidings of any kind. 
About midday on May 2Oth, the chosen messenger, 
La Moussaye, arrived before the gates of Paris. Follow- 
ing Enghien's instructions, he went directly, not to 
the Palace of the Louvre, but to the Hotel de Conde. 
He had ridden straight from the field after the victory ; 
he bore no dispatches, except a few lines sent by the 
Duke to Mazarin ; but the gift of description was his, 
and the narrative told by word of mouth to the Prince 
and Princess must have been worthy of the occasion. 
Meanwhile the news had spread ; it seemed to be in 
the air, from the moment La Moussaye dismounted in 
the courtyard of the Hotel. When he reappeared, on 
his way to the Louvre, the streets were thronged with 
a rejoicing crowd, who cheered him as he went. ' I 
am sending La Moussaye to Court ", Enghien writes 
to Mazarin, " to bring the news of this victory to the 
King. I know you take enough interest in whatever 
concerns me to be very glad of it. For this reason I 
address myself to you, and beg you to reward M. de 
Gassion's services by appointing him a Marshal of 
France. I can assure you that the chief honours of 
the fight are due to him. You will oblige me greatly by 
doing him this service ", 1 With regard to the action 
itself, he merely adds, " Tourville will tell you every- 
thing else that took place, and I will send you all par- 
ticulars on the first opportunity ". 

This letter might serve as an answer to those accusa- 
tions which, in more modern times, have been brought 
against the Duke of having allowed his own credit 
to be exalted at his officers' expense. Gassion, for his 
part, was by no means unequal to urging his own 
claims. He writes, a few days later, to the Cardinal a 
simple and sufficient account of his exploits, as follows : 

" On this occasion I did everything that I ought 
to have done ; so that M. le Due was very much pleased. 
It only remains that I should win the approval of your 
Eminence, and obtain from you the favour which M. le 
Due has asked on my behalf "* 

1 Archives Nationales. See Due d'Aumale, Histoire des Princes de 
Conde, iv. Appendix. 

z Archives Nationales, May 21, 1643. 



Whatever Enghien might say of Gassion, La Mous- 
saye had no doubt that M. le Due, and none other, was 
the hero of the day. Fresh details only confirmed 
this opinion in the public mind. La Moussaye, after 
delivering his messages to the Queen- Regent, left 
Paris immediately to rejoin the army ; but on May 
2ist came Tourville, his arm in a sling, bringing the 
further account which had been promised. The Queen 
received him with marked favour, and assured him 
that the Duke's request for Gassion 's promotion should 
be granted. La Moussaye carried back with him a 
first instalment of written congratulations : those 
sent by the Queen, and by the Conde* household. Here, 
the young Duchesse d 'Enghien plays her usual incon- 
spicuous part ; her letter, if she ever summoned courage 
to send one, has not been preserved. Foremost of all 
is that of Madame la Princesse, dated May 2Oth ; written 
evidently in a perfect tumult of feeling, and with scarcely 
any stops : 

" My dear child I am so troubled to think what 
danger you have been in, that I do not know what 
to say to you and my joy at your good fortune in 
having rendered this great service to the Queen trans- 
ports me so that I cannot tell you of my gladness, and 
also that it has pleased God to preserve you, give thanks 
to Him with all your heart and never be ungrateful 
for this blessing which you have received of His good- 
ness, and take care of your health. The Queen com- 
mands me to tell you that her joy in this victory is 
increased since it is you who have done her this service, 
she assures you of her goodwill, and that I love you 
more than my life l '. 1 

On the same sheet, below the Princess's signature, are 
a; few lines from Anne-Genevieve de Bourbon, now 
Madame de Longueville : 

" My very dear brother, I am in such trans- 
ports of joy that I do not know what to say, except 
that I am at the height of all my wishes, and I think 
you have no difficulty in believing this. Let me know 
if there is anything you want, that I may send it to 

you ". 2 

1 A .C., May 20, 1643. 


During the week that followed, letters rained on 
M. le Due: " the first commander", wrote La Meil- 
leraie, " who has ever won a victory for a King of four 
years old, on the fourth day of his reign ". Among a 
host of formal or extravagant compliments from 
courtiers of every degree, one voice is heard, distinct 
and characteristic, speaking in all sincerity, from one 
soldier to another. The letter signed ' Turenne ' was 
condemned as inadequate by some of Enghien's ad- 
mirers. Not only was the language too moderate for 
their views, but the letter itself was delivered by the 
ordinary courier, instead of by a gentleman messenger, 
sent expressly for the purpose, as etiquette demanded. 
Fortunately, there is every reason to suppose that the 
Duke himself was satisfied. " Monseigneur ", Turenne 
writes, " although you will be less likely to expect an 
elaborate compliment on your victory from me than 
from another, you must assure yourself that there is no 
one in the world more truly glad of it than I am, seeing 
that it confirms me in the very high esteem I had for 
you already ; not because of your good fortune, but 
because of the right conduct and presence of mind 
which you showed during the whole action. Do me 
the honour, Monseigneur, to continue that of your 
friendship towards me ".* 

For many days the Hotel de Conde outdid the 
Louvre itself as a centre of interest. All Paris flocked 
to offer congratulations, and to make interest with 
the family in power. Madame la Princesse describes 
herself as "so surrounded with people " that she can 
hardly find a moment's leisure. " My rooms are never 
empty", she writes ; " M. de Vendome, 2 and his children, 
are the only people who have not visited me ". 3 The 
Due de Vendome, it should be added, was only less 
jealous than Gaston of Orleans each time that any good 
fortune befel the House of Conde. A fresh outburst 
of excitement followed the arrival of the trophies of 
battle ; chief among them, the enemy's colours, brought 
by the Duke's quarter-master, the Comte de Chevers. 
" Your banners have rejoiced all Paris ", wrote the Due 
de Longueville to his brother-in-law. Close on two 
hundred in all, these standards draped the walls of the 

1 A.C., May 21, 1643. 

2 Cesar de Vendome, son of Henri iv and Gabrielle d'Estrees. 
*A.C., May 21, 1643. 


great hall in the Hotel de Conde for two days, while 
arrangements were being made to convey them in state 
to Notre-Dame. The envy of the House of Orleans 
was at its height ; carefully fostered by Mazarin, who 
had no wish to see an alliance of Princes. No one ex- 
pressed more fervent outward admiration for M. le 
Due than he ; but at the same time the Abbe de la 
Riviere, ' Monsieur's ' confidential secretary, was in- 
structed to point out to his master that he, Gaston, 
" son of France, uncle of the King, and Lieutenant- 
General of the State ", was the only person to whom the 
colours should rightly have been offered. Monsieur 
was more than ready to take offence ; and Mazarin was 
able truthfully to warn Henri de Bourbon, "as if in 
confidence " , that the Duke of Orleans " was in the 
greatest passion imaginable " ; adding that he (Mazarin) 
would ask the Queen to do her best to appease him. 
The Prince felt secure enough of his position to answer, 
with unwonted spirit, that the Queen's good offices 
might be kept for another occasion. " My son and I ", 
he added, " know very well how to pay Monsieur what- 
ever duty we owe him. If he is vexing himself over 
this matter, he can unvex himself (il peut se desfascher) 
as soon as he pleases ". As for the standards, he de- 
clared they belonged to the Queen, and should be sent 
to her whenever she thought fit. Enghien's letter to 
his father, dated May 23rd, says clearly enough : "I 
am sending the colours to the Queen ". 

In spite of his defiant attitude, Henri de Bourbon 
was not without misgivings. Monsieur, he could afford 
to disregard for the moment ; but in the midst of his 
satisfaction it dawned upon him that his son, whom he 
had trained with such care to serve him, might, in 
the end, prove more of a firebrand than was either 
profitable or convenient. As he stood in the hall where 
the trophies were displayed, the Prince turned to Lenet : 
" This is a great day", he said ; " and God knows that I 
rejoice in my son's actions. But remember this, the 
more fame he wins for himself, the more misfortune will 
come upon my house. . . . Tell no one what I have said ; 
but you will think of it often in times to come ". And 
indeed Lenet 's after life in the service of the Conde 
family, was not such as to drive the saying from his 

May 28th was the date fixed for the solemn thanks- 


fiving in Paris. On that day, four hundred of the 
wiss Guard and fifty horsemen of the King's body- 
guard were sent to escort the colours from the Hotel de 
Conde to Notre-Dame. As they passed through the 
streets, and over the Pont Neuf, the people flocked 
to view the procession, and, as the Gazette reports, 
" admired above all the great Cross of Burgundy on the 
standards ". The whole Court repaired in state to 
the Cathedral, where again to quote the Gazette 
[t the sound of cannon from the Bastille, and from the 
Arsenal, served as a bass to the music of the Te Deum ". 
Enghien's own formal celebration of his victory 
took the form of a Te Deum sung in the church of 
Rocroy, " to the sound of guns and trumpets ", a few 
hours after the battle. Before the thanksgiving in 
Notre-Dame had been accomplished, he had developed a 
further plan of campaign and was importuning Mazarin 
for leave to carry it out. To his father he writes : " We 
are now the masters of this campaign, and there is 
hardly anything we might not undertake. I have had 
twenty-one days' rations of bread made at Guise, and 
to-day we shall take it with us into the enemy's country ; 
we hear on all sides that as yet they have rallied none 
of their forces, so I hope we may accomplish something ". 
At the first glance it seemed as though Brussels itself 
might be the next point of attack ; the road was clear 
from the frontier. But the siege of Brussels must 
remain a doubtful enterprise so long as Thionville, 1 the 
chief fortress of the Moselle, was held by the enemy 
The Austrian Imperialist forces, which the Marshal de 
Guebriant 2 was striving to hold in check on the Rhine, 
might at any moment turn northwards and advance 
into the Low Countries, through Lorraine and Luxem- 
bourg ; the position of this great stronghold assured 
them a safe passage across the Moselle. M. le Due 
decided that Thionville must be invested ; and wrote 
forthwith to demand the supplies necessary for the 
siege. Mazarin yielded in the end, but he temporised 
for nearly three weeks ; perhaps thinking it salutary 
for a young and victorious General to learn that his 
word was not always to be a minister's law. During 
the interval Enghien was, to say the least, not idle ; 

1 In German, Diedenhofen. 

2 Jean-Baptiste Budes de Guebriant ; born 1602 ; killed at Rothweil, 


between May 26th and June i4th he had taken posses- 
sion of four smaller places on the frontier : Berlaimont, 
Aymerie, Maubeuge, and Binche. ' If you expose 
yourself to such unheard-of fatigue, you will not live 
long ", wrote the Prince ; knowing that his son had 
more nervous energy than physical strength : " Take 
care of your health, and keep your courage within 
bounds ; you have won enough honour ; you must curb 
yourself. We do not know yet what orders you will 
have". 1 Henri de Bourbon could scarcely be expected 
to sympathise with any fervent military ambition. 
Fame, for its own sake, had never appealed to him ; he 
looked on it merely as a stepping-stone to more tangible 
advantages. "As to your siege, you shall not want 
for supplies ", he writes to Enghien on June i6th ; 
" but may God send you success. Here, everyone 
wonders at your undertaking this difficult and dangerous 
enterprise, when the honours you have won deserve, 
not empty praise, but solid reward ; such as the govern- 
ment (of a province) which was promised to me for you 
a long while ago. In short, Thionville is a scheme of 
your own, contrary to my advice ; I consented to it to 
please you, and not because I approved of it ; think 
it well over, for now you must succeed, at whatever 
cost ". 2 

Another matter in which Enghien was exerting 
himself, as the Prince thought, unnecessarily, was 
the fulfilment of his promise to Gassion. The Queen- 
Regent at first had been willing enough to grant the 
1 baton ' ; her chief endeavour, at that time, was to 
gratify everyone. It was soon pointed out to her, 
however, that the same reward had been promised to 
Turenne for his services in Piedmont and Roussillon ; 
and that to promote Gassion another Huguenot 
now, at the very outset of the Regency, might please 
M. le Due, but would be more than likely to give offence 
elsewhere. For this reason she hesitated ; putting 
forward a succession of reasons why it might be better 
to delay. Enghien was deeply offended ; partly on 
Gassion 's account, and partly because it was well known 
that he himself had made the request ; so that the 
humiliation of a refusal would have been unbearable. 
He was the more aggrieved, since other applications for 
favour, on behalf of officers who had distinguished 

1 A .., June, 1643. z A.C., 1643. 


themselves, had met with little more response. The 
losses at Rocroy had left vacant several posts, including 
two or three of the first importance. L'Hopital and 
La Ferte were both incapacitated by their wounds. 
Enghien 's wish was to fill these vacancies by promoting 
men like Sirot, who had proved their worth, and who 
were already serving with him. Instead, there arrived 
from Paris an apparently endless succession of General 
officers ; ' marechaux de camp', who had applied for 
permission to join ' M. le Due's army'. Among them 
all, Gaspard de Coligny, a close personal friend, was 
probably the only one to whom Enghien gave a warm 
welcome. L'Hopital was replaced by a still older 
veteran, Charles de Valois, Due d'Angouleme ; l of 
whom the Due de Longueville writes : " I do not think 
that, viewing his age and his infirmities, he can possibly 
be of much use to you ; but you will find him very 
obliging, and nearly always of the same opinion as the 
last man who has spoken ". 2 Naturally, the officers 
already on the spot resented this inroad, and the Duke 
was roused to protest ; he complains to Mazarin, begging 
him " to send no more marechaux de camp ; otherwise 
the confusion will be unbearable ". The situation 
was further complicated by all the new-comers being 
resolved to serve on M. le Due's immediate staff, and in 
no other capacity ; they would have nothing to say 
to the Lieutenant- Generals. " This matter must be 
settled ", so Enghien writes, soon after the beginning 
of the siege ; " at present everyone is furious, and there 
is no getting any work done ". 3 

Henri de Bourbon would have resented any slur 
upon his son's interest with the Queen ; otherwise, 
Gassion's promotion, and the deserts of subordinate 
officers, did not greatly concern him. He was more 
anxious lest the newly acquired influence of his House 
should be damaged by too much persistence. Enghien 
urges him, respectfully at first, to use his influence ; 
then, losing patience, declares vehemently that not 
one of his wishes has been fulfilled : "I begged the 
Queen to make M. de Gassion a Marshal of France, and 
he is no nearer to it now than before ; I asked for 
an appointment as marechal de camp for M. de Sirot, 
and for companies for certain officers who had served 

1 Son of Charles ix, King of France, and Marie Touchet ; born 1573. 
2 A.C., May, 1643. 3 A.C., June, 1643. 


well. I thought all these things were safe, and I pro- 
mised them to these gentlemen, who will see now that 
I cannot keep my word l> . 1 Tourville, who carried this 
letter to the Prince, was charged at the same time 
with one addressed to the Queen-Regent in person : 
" A la Reine Regente, Mere du Roy, ma Souveraine 
Dame ", " I had begged Your Majesty to acknowledge 
the services of M. de Gassion by giving him the baton 
of a Marshal of France, and the whole army thought him 
assured of it ; also, to reward some officers, who had 
done good service, with small appointments. Now 
that these requests have not been granted, I am obliged 
to tell Your Majesty that the principal Commanders 
are so much incensed and estranged, that, if Your 
Majesty does not satisfy them I cannot answer for the 
consequences. For myself, Madame, I will not say 
that my services have deserved anything ; neverthe- 
less, if Your Majesty should be disposed to value them, 
I humbly implore you to delay no longer in granting me 
the favours I ask on behalf of M. de Gassion and these 
other officers ; assuring you, at the same time, that I 
shall never abuse Your Majesty's goodness towards me, 
and that I shall remain all my life your most humble, 
obedient, and faithful servant and subject ". 2 What the 
Queen would have thought of this very plain-spoken 
appeal had it reached her, will never be known ; for 
the Prince, having taken it from Tourville, read it, and 
immediately confiscated it. "I have suppressed the 
letter you sent to the Queen by Tourville ", he writes 
calmly to his son. " It might have ruined your affairs ; 
you go too fast, and take things too much to heart ". 3 
Still, Enghien 's representations had done their work ; 
he had made it clear that he would accept no refusal, 
and his whole family were roused to effort. The Queen 
at length gave way to their persuasions ; she had 
intelligence enough to see that three such subjects 
as Enghien, Turenne, and Gassion were worth concilliat- 
ing, even at the risk of a few murmurs. Before many 
days she had committed herself to a definite promise ; 
and the promotion of the two Huguenot Generals, 
Jean, Sieur de Gassion, and Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, 
Vicomte de Turenne, was announced in due course. 

Enghien, quite undaunted by the responsibilit}^ 
which his father had laid on him for the siege of Thion- 

1 A.C., June 8, 1643. 2 A.C., June, 1643. 3 A.C., June 16, 1643. 


ville, invested the town on June igth. Gesvres, who 
had been exercising a separate command on the borders 
of Champagne, marched northwards and joined him 
under the walls. The outset was discouraging to 
the besieging force ; for, on the night following the 
investment, the Spaniards, helped by the negligence 
of the Comte de Grancey one of the new ' marechaux 
de camp ' succeeded in introducing a reinforcement 
of several hundred men into the town. Enghien's 
troops, however, set vigorously to work on the siege 
operations. La Moussaye describes, with full pro- 
fessional details, the mining of bastions and the con- 
struction of a * covered way ' a marvel of engineering 
across the moat. Letters sent from Thionville to the 
Court tell of M. le Due's masterly direction of the siege, 
and of how he never spared himself, but " went every 
day in peril of his life ". The Prince's letters to his son 
are full of recommendations to prudence : " Do not 
hazard yourself without reason, or tire yourself without 
good cause ", he reiterates ; not, perhaps, from wholly 
disinterested feelings of affection. Enghien was by 
far the most valuable political tool he was ever likely 
to have at his disposal ; therefore his life, and his 
military reputation, could not be too carefully preserved. 
The Duke had forborne to accuse Grancey in official 
dispatches, and his father urges him to expose the 
blunder, lest his own prestige should be damaged. 
:< Everyone here is astonished at your not explaining 
the fault of those who allowed the relief to come in, 
so as to protect yourself from blame. You must be on 
your guard, for you are feared and envied ; and if 
you suspect anyone of serving you ill, send me word "- 1 
Further instructions are that the Duke is "to confess 
himself often, and to hear Mass every day ", and, above 
all, not to spend more money than he can help ; it has 
been rumoured that he pays " twice as much as is 
necessary " to the workers in the mines. This last is in 
answer to an appeal from Enghien, urging the heavy 
expense of the siege operations ; " L 'argent y vat 
extremement viste". 

Writing on July 9th, Enghien sets himself a limit of 
six weeks for the reduction of the town. In the end 
he kept his word, and left himself a fortnight to spare ; 
the garrison capitulated on August 8th ; but not before 

1 A.C., June 28, 1643. 


the French army had suffered severe individual losses. 
Gassion, whose daring and energy had never flagged 
throughout the siege, was dangerously wounded in 
leading an assault. On the same day (August 4th) a 
disaster occurred in laying a train under one of the 
bastions ; a fuse, supposed to be extinct, took effect and 
caused a terrible explosion. Gesvres was killed, and 
several others were injured. A less conspicuous mis- 
fortune, but one which grieved M. le Due, as he says, 
' beyond measure ', was the loss of ' le jeune Francine ', 
the esquire who had followed him since his schooldays 
at Bourges. Francine is described as " a good horse- 
man, one who danced well, and a skilful player on the 
lute, and at tennis " ; but he had other, more serious 
qualifications than these, and had been at Enghien 's 
side in every danger during the campaigns of Aire and 
Arras, as well as at Rocroy. His death was heroic. He 
had been sent with dispatches from Enghien to the 
Prince and Mazarin, and was bearing back their answers 
when he found himself waylaid by a scouting party from 
Beck's army. Francine was too heavily overmatched 
to save himself ; he was wounded and taken prisoner, 
after a desperate resistance ; but even in these straits 
he contrived to hide his dispatches, and to destroy them, 
before they could fall into the enemy's hands. He was 
brought before Beck, who first had him searched for 
information ; and then, judging his wounds to be mortal, 
allowed him to be sent back to Thionville, where he 
died two or three days later : 

" Duquel Dieu, par sa grace, veuille avoir Tame en paradis ". 

So engrossed was Enghien by the progress of the 
siege that he had little or no attention to spare for a 
piece of news which should have been of the first 
importance to him. The Prince writes from Paris 
that Madame la Duchesse has given birth to a son ; 
"the most beautiful child in the world". The joy in 
the House of Conde was increased by the fact that 
the Duke of Orleans had only daughters. Indeed, as 
the members of both houses were well aware, the 
succession was not too well provided for. The King 
and his brother were still young children, and infant 
life was beset by many dangers. There remained only 
four Princes of the Blood in France ; namely, Gaston of 
Orleans ; Henri de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, and his 


two-sons. Thus the birth of the little Due d'Albret, a 
* son of St. Louis ', in as direct a line as the King himself, 
was something of a national event. Enghien, if the 
truth must be told, showed less pleasure or interest on 
the occasion than almost anyone concerned. Family 
life had not, so far, entered into his calculations ; it 
had held no place in his surroundings or in his up- 
bringing. Moreover, at heart, he was as far as ever 
from being reconciled to his marriage, and disliked the 
bare reminder of its existence. From the remon- 
strances addressed to him by the Prince, it seems only 
too clear that M. le Due neither wrote to his wife, nor 
made any mention of her in his letters, till after his 
mind was set at rest by the surrender of the town ; 
that is to say, till nearly three weeks after the birth of 
the child. " I am astonished that my son has said 
nothing to me of his wife's confinement, or of his son ", 
Henri de Bourbon writes to the secretary, Girard, on 
August pth. In justice it should be added that the 
Prince, time-server as he was, had never ceased to 
champion his daughter-in-law's interests, even when she 
no longer had an uncle to be propitiated ; he counten- 
anced Enghien 's neglect as little, now, as in Richelieu's 
lifetime. He himself had found no difficulty in be- 
coming resigned to a marriage of convenience ; he 
had never been able to understand why his son should 
not follow his example. 

The Spanish garrison marched out of Thionville 
on August loth, and on the same day the French troops 
made their entry. The Duke, and all his staff, walked 
bareheaded from the town gates to the Church, where 
they were received in state b}^ the clergy, and listened 
to a Latin address. This was a form of greeting to 
which Enghien had early been accustomed, and the 
answering speech improvised by him in the same 
language, was the admiration of all who heard it. The 
surrender of Thionville was the signal for a fresh instal- 
ment of congratulations. From the Hotel de Conde 
comes a letter written by Madame la Princesse and 
signed by all the young ladies of the Chantilly clique, 
those whom their friends had nicknamed collectively 
' the angels ' : " I am quite sure ", writes the Princess, 
" that when you see the conclusion of this letter, you 
will be not a little grateful to me for having begun it, 
and for giving the charming persons around me an oppor- 


tunity of sending you their messages ; and I pray 
God may give you grace to bring all your undertakings 
to a happy close ; and that the joy which has been 
taken from us by your absence, and by the dangers 
you are in, may be restored to us again ". Then follow 
the signatures, each one attached to a few complimen- 
tary phrases. The original manuscript is not quite 
complete ; but, from various inferences, it seems 
tolerably clear that on the missing page were the names 
of Mademoiselle de Rambouillet and Marthe du Vigean. 
Marthe's elder sister, ' Mademoiselle de Fors ', l is one 
of the boldest writers ; she claims to be the originator 
of the whole scheme : " Mademoiselle de Ramfiouillet 
is trying to take from me the credit of having suggested 
that we should write to you ; but I must beg you most 
humbly not to believe her, for I said it first, a long time 
ago, only they would not listen to me ; and I think you 
will do me the honour to be grateful, since you know 
that the idea of writing does not come easily to me ; 
besides, it is really I who feel the most profound respect 
for you, and the greatest wish that you should be 
assured of it ". 2 

Other messages are more deprecating, but not less 
enthusiastic, in tone : 

" If, after all the beautiful things said by these 
charming ladies to your Highness, I cannot hope that 
my congratulations will be welcome ; still I may assure 
you that no one honours you more completely then I. 


" It needs great courage to send you a compliment 
after all these ; but if mine is less well expressed, at 
least I may boast that it is the most sincere. 


" May the consideration of your safety, which is 
precious to all who have signed this letter, stay that 

1 Anne Poussart de Fors du Vigean ; married firstly, Francois d'Albret, 
Sieur de Pons ; secondly, the Due de Richelieu, nephew of the 

2 * A.C., 1643. 

3 Marie de Lomenie de Brienne ; married Nicolas Rouault, Marquis de 

4 Marie de la Tour d'Auvergne ; married Henri de la Tremoille, Due de 

1 6 4 3] RETURN TO PARIS 77 

victorious arm and hasten your return, that you may 
see again your obedient servant, 


Last of all, and with the greatest appearance of 
humility, stands the name of the future Duchesse de 
Chatillon : 

" The others have written before me ; but they 
must yield to me the attributes of the most respectful 
and affectionate of your humble and obedient servants, 


The wished-for return of M. le Due was not long 
delayed. Three weeks were spent in repairing the 
fortifications of Thionville and converting the town 
into a French stronghold. Sierck, and the smaller 
fortresses of the Moselle, capitulated almost without 
resistance. But it was already September ; too late 
in the year to undertake any great enterprise, without 
embarking on a winter campaign. Enghien saw his 
troops securely disposed in Thionville and other neigh- 
bouring quarters ; gave his orders to Angouleme, who, 
while no active measures were contemplated, could 
safely be left in command ; and departed for Paris. 
Here he was greeted as " the saviour of his country, 
and one of the chief supporters of the Crown " ; his 
favour was sought on all hands ; while his family lost 
no time in initiating him into all the latest and 
most engrossing political and social intrigues of the 

No person of any consequence, least of all M. le 
Due, could have spent even a few days in Paris without 
becoming thoroughly involved in one party or another. 
The Court of the Queen-Mother, in the early days of 
the Regency, is briefly described by one of its members 
as " large and brilliant ; but in a state of great con- 
fusion ". Two principal factions might be more or less 
clearly defined ; one headed by the House of Vendome, 
in the persons of Cesar, Due de Vendome, and his sons 
the Dukes of Mercaur and Beaufort ; the other by the 
House of Conde. l Monsieur ', notwithstanding his 
rank, and many social gifts, commanded no appreciable 

1 Anne de la Magdelaine de Ragny ; married Franois de Bonne de 
Crequy, Due de Lesdiguieres. 


following ; a more aimless and irresponsible Prince it 
would have been hard to find. He was entirely un- 
scrupulous in matters of honour, and betrayed his 
friends as often as it suited his purpose ; but his essential 
weakness of character, and want of both moral and 

Physical courage, kept him from being a danger to the 
tate. His personality carried no weight ; even in 
those disturbed times no one turned to him seriously 
as a leader. The nominal head of the Conde faction 
was Henri de Bourbon ; but apart from his rights over 
Enghien, whose value as a family asset was increasing 
every day, the chief source of his influence lay in his 
alliance with Mazarin. In the same way the Due de 
Vendome had, in himself, no great personal ascendancy ; 
the hopes of his followers were pinned to the second son 
of the House : 

'-' Monsieur de Beaufort 
Ce due si grand, si haut, si fort, 
Et de prestance si blondine "- 1 

Beaufort was five years older than Enghien, and was 
gifted with exactly those popular qualities which were 
lacking in M. le Due ; more especially an easy temper, 
and extreme good looks, of an obvious and florid kind ; 
while in conversation, instead of a restless and sarcastic 
humour, he showed a reassuring slowness of intellect. 
He was adored by the people of Paris ; the fishwives, 
and market-women acknowledged him as ' le Roi des 
Halles '. Their affection, so a most observant con- 
temporary affirms, was based on three simple facts. 
Beaufort " was the grandson of Henri iv ; he spoke 
the language of the markets (les Halles), which was not 
usual among the grandchildren of Henri iv ; and he had 
a magnificent head of long, thick, fair hair ". 2 The 
writer adds that " it would be impossible to exaggerate 
the effect produced by these three attributes, on the 
public mind ". Throughout the summer of 1643 the 
Queen had allowed herself to be almost entirely governed 
by the ' King of the Markets ' ; his consequential air 
on state occasions caused great amusement at the Hotel 
de Conde, where he and his friends were nick-named 
1 les Importants '. Beaufort was ambitious, and by no 
means as straightforward as his manner implied ; but 
he had no political ability whatever ; he was no match 

1 Loret, La Muze Historique. 2 Retz, Mtmoires. 

1 643] ' LES IMPORTANTS ' 79 

for Mazarin, who in the course of a few months con- 
trived to oust him completely from favour. Beaufort 
helped his enemies by presuming on his position, as 
a man of his particular stamp was certain to do. His 
crowning indiscretion was that of upholding the cause 
of the notorious Duchesse de Montbazon, 1 in direct 
opposition to the Queen. This was in the celebrated 
quarrel between the Duchesses of Longueville and 
Montbazon, when the latter circulated a rumour that 
certain compromising letters, discovered lying on the 
floor during a reception at her house, had been originally 
addressed by Madame de Longueville to Maurice de 
Coligny. The accusation was proved to be unfounded, 
and Madame de Longueville would have let the matter 
rest, but Madame la Princesse insisted on reparation 
for the insult. The Queen, acting on Mazarin 's advice, 
declared her justified, and Madame de Montbazon 
was publicly humiliated by dismissal from Court. 
Beaufort, who had long been her slave, took prompt 
measures for revenge. It was said by some that he had 
actually laid plans to have the Cardinal assassinated ; 
others believed that he meant to do no more than frighten 
him, and, if possible, make him leave Paris. In either 
case, Mazarin, whose personal courage was not his strong 
point, became convinced that his life was in danger, and 
appealed for protection. The Queen suddenly realised 
that the services of this Minister, his ready advice, 
insinuating manners, and unfailing tact were indis- 
pensable to her, and she no longer hesitated before 
extreme measures. Beaufort was arrested, to the 
general astonishment, and imprisoned in the fortress 
of Vincennes. This was the first striking proof of 
Mazarin 's influence. From that time he never rested 
until every Prince in France had felt the weight of his 

Enghien arrived in Paris to join his family in this 
moment of triumph. M. le Due takes, as it were, the 
centre of the stage ; the object of universal interest, 
and ' fort glprieux '. He was too serious a soldier to 
be vain of his actual military distinction ; but he took 
advantage of the personal prestige which it gave him 

1 Marie de Bretagne d' Avaugour, wife of Hercule de Rohan, Due de 
Montbazon. She was noted for her innumerable intrigues ; Retz says of 
her : " Elle n'aimait rien que son plaisir, et audessus de son plaisir, son 
interet ". 


to act and speak, on all social occasions, exactly as he 
pleased ; and that with an assurance only possible to 
a young Bourbon Prince of the seventeenth century. 
In other words, he gave himself the most outrageous 
airs, with such conviction that they became almost 
admirable. The train of young men who surrounded 
him, most of whom had been with him on his campaigns, 
imitated his manners as best they might ; they were 
known as ' les petits-maitres ', " because they followed 
him who seemed to be the master of all ". 1 The name 
has since acquired a very different meaning ; for no one 
who modelled himself on a leader as flagrantly careless 
of his dress and appearance as M. le Due, could ever 
have been distinguished as a ' petit-maitre ' in the 
modern sense. Many of those at Court who had once 
made no secret of their ill-will, now came forward 
with offers of friendship, only to find themselves badly 
received by the Duke, whose tongue spared neither 
friends nor enemies. One General officer, whose feel- 
ings had been tolerably well known, asked him, by way 
of compliment : " What can the jealous ones say now 
of your success?" "I don't know", Enghien an- 
swered ; " but you were just the person I was going 
to ask". 

It had been confidently expected that M. le Due 
would spend some time in Paris. Instead, two or three 
weeks after his arrival, he was dispatched on what seems, 
at first, a curious errand for an officer of his rank and 
distinction. Guebriant, beaten back across the frontier, 
had been urgently demanding supplies and reinforce- 
ments ; his need had become so pressing that Mazarin 
decided to allow him a reinforcement of five thousand 
men, to be drawn from the troops left in Luxembourg 
under Angouleme. Enghien 's mission was to gather 
up the men of this detachment on the borders of 
Luxembourg, lead them to join Guebriant on the 
Rhine, near Strasburg, and then himself return to 
Paris. The reason for his being sent, in person, on this 
apparently trivial expedition, was, in truth, simple 
and characteristic enough : no other leader could have 
been so counted on to keep the troops together. These 
five thousand, once incorporated in the ' army of the 
Rhine ', were to form the division commanded by 
Guebriant 's Lieutenant-General, Count Rantzau, a 
1 MdtteviUe,f J4moir&. 


native of Holstein. Rantzau had been eight years in 
the service of France, and had not spared himself ; he 
had lost an eye at Dole and a foot at Arras. But he 
had no gift for inspiring confidence in those who served 
under him. To have sent him to Luxembourg in quest 
of his own troops, would have been a hopeless measure. 
Discipline was apt to grow lax among men who had 
been campaigning for months, or even years, with no 
dependable system of leave or payment. On the long 
marches from one frontier to another, desertion was 
an everyday affair ; sometimes a whole regiment 
would coolly disband itself. Any force setting out 
under Rantzau would have been greatly diminished, 
to say the least, before reaching Guebriant's head- 
quarters ; more especially as the German frontier was 
a notoriously unpopular seat of war. Guebriant's 
contemporary biographer, Le Laboureur, says plainly 
that " the dislike to serving in Germany was now 
stronger than ever among the French soldiers, 
and among their officers of every degree ; so that 
it would have been perfectly useless for anyone 
who had not the Due d'Enghien's authority and 
influence over them, to attempt to reconcile them 
to it ". 

Enghien, at two-and-twenty, had taught officers 
and men alike to believe that while they did their 
part, he would do his. They must obey him implicitly ; 
in return, he would feed them, and pay them, as long 
as bread and money were to be had ; and if, when the 
time came, he sacrificed lives unhesitatingly in battle, 
they felt it was no more than he had a right to do. The 
force which met Guebriant at Dachstein, a few miles 
from Strasburg, had suffered no losses on the way. 
Guebriant, in relief and gratitude, received the Duke at 
a magnificent banquet in the Castle of Dachstein. 
This entertainment, according to the Sieur de Pontis, 
Captain in the ' Regiment de la Reine ', and a guest on 
the occasion, was " one of the finest feasts that was 
ever seen ". Guebriant's correspondence testifies to 
the preparations made beforehand ; the wood-cock 
pies, ' adorned with plumage ' sent from Strasburg, 
and the fish from Colmar. One of the magistrates of 
Colmar writes that " three perch, four carp, and five 
pike, the best that can be had ", are being dispatched, 
with two soldiers for an escort ". " For myself", he 


adds, " I could indeed have wished for the honour of 
seeing His Highness the Due d 'Enghien, that great 
Commander, already so famous, and so full of promise, 
in his early youth (en son petit age) ". M. le Due was 
the chief guest of honour, although two German Princes 
were present : Duke George of Wurtemburg, and the 
Margrave of Baden-Durlach. In the dining-hall were 
stationed " a number of kettle-drums and twelve 
trumpeters, three on each side of the hall. Each time 
that His Highness drank a health, they all sounded 
together, and twenty or thirty others answered from 
outside ". The effect, which would have realised 
Gassion ; s ideal in music, gave great satisfaction to the 
company ; Pontis considered it " a most charming and 
agreeable chorus ' ' . Only one untoward incident occurred . 
Dachstein had been appointed as the general rendezvous 
of the troops ; and Rantzau, whom Enghien disliked so 
cordially that he would hardly consent to speak to him, 
arrived at the Castle just before the banquet was over. 
Pontis had been charged to receive and usher in the 
guests ; he was so much perplexed by the situation 
that he went to Guebriant, who was sitting at the 
Duke's table, and said to him in a low voice : " M. de 
Rantzau is in the courtyard ". The Marshal, no less 
embarrassed, whispered back : " Leave him there, and 
pretend not to know ". Rantzau waited for some time 
in growing impatience ; finally, he could bear it no 
longer, and presented himself unannounced. Gue*briant 
with great presence of mind came forward, in seeming 
astonishment : ft Why ", he said, " you are very late ; 
but there is still plenty to eat " ; and at the same moment 
he ordered " pheasant, and all kinds of game " to be 
brought in ; so that Rantzau, " who was known to be 
fond of good things ", had no time to take offence at 
the coldness of his reception. 

During the next few days Enghien inspected Gue"- 
briant's army, and visited the fortified places in the 
neighbourhood. He saw the forces of Lorraine and 
Luxembourg established in their winter quarters ; 
and then, having fulfilled all the duties of a Commander, 
came back at length to Paris on November i5th. 
Seven months had passed since he had left there to 
take up his first command ; inexperienced, mis- 
trusted, and invested with scarcely more than nominal 
authority. His appointment had been looked on as 


the outward and visible sign of Louis xin's blind 
adherence to his Minister's dying advice. Now, with 
the possible exception of Turenne, there was no 
leader in France who inspired more confidence than 
M. le Due. 



WITH the close of his first great campaign, Enghien's 
life falls naturally into the regular military routine of 
the time. Six months' campaigning in the spring and 
summer ; six months' relaxation, while the troops 
were in winter quarters. Officers of high social rank, 
for the most part, contrived to spend these winter 
months in Paris, varying them by occasional excur- 
sions into affairs of State. M. le Due, for the present, 
was content to follow his father's lead in political 
ventures, provided always that he could feel assured 
of not being passed over for any especially desirable 
post on active service. As far as public matters were 
concerned, the family alliance was unshaken, and 
continued so till the day of the elder Prince's death. 
Privately, it was far otherwise ; Henri de Bourbon 
found his son more intractable than ever in domestic 
affairs. If Enghien had rebelled against his marriage 
before, he did so now with redoubled vigour ; for the 
more emotional reason that he had fallen desperately 
in love. In the words of Lenet, " the friendship which 
M. le Due felt for Mademoiselle du Vigean had grown 
into a deep and fervent passion "^ More than two 
years earlier, Richelieu had taken decisive measures 
for the suppression of this attachment ; he had removed 
the Duke from Paris, and had kept him for some time 
under his own immediate supervision ; finding him, 
incidentally, a most inconvenient charge. His anxiety, 
it must be admitted, was not entirely on moral grounds. 
All things considered, it is impossible that Richelieu 

1 Lenet dates Enghien's friendship with Marthe du Vigean from early 
in 1640 ; but infers that he did not fall seriously in love with her till a year 
or so later. 

8 4 


can have expected M. le Due, situated as he was, to 
keep clear of flirtation or intrigue. Enghien's way of 
life was no stricter than that of his companions ; and 
under most circumstances the Cardinal would probably 
not have thought it worth his while to interfere. What 
gave this case peculiar importance, was that Marthe 
du Vigean was not in the least likely to consent to 
play a part in an ordinary liaison. Even in that 
scandalous age, the writers of contemporary memoirs 
treat her with respect, and as though her virtue were 
as much beyond question as her beauty. Voiture 
compares her to all the symbols of radiant youth ; 
1 un soleil naissant ' ; ' un bouton epanouissant '. To 
her friends she was poetically known as ' 1'Aurore de 
la Barre ', from the name of her home at La Barre, 
near Chantilly. With the exception of Madame de 
Longueville herself, one only, among ' the ^angels ' is 
as ecstatically praised ; the ' adorable Sylvie ', other- 
wise Isabelle de Montmorency ; but no one thought of 
bestowing on the future Duchesse de Chatillon, even 
in her earliest years, a name suggesting the innocence 
of dawn. 

Marthe, young as she was, had already shown 
herself unresponsive to many suitors : 

" Sans savoir ce que c'est qu' amour, 
Ses beaux yeux le mettent au jour ; 
Et partout elle le fait naitre, 
Sans le connaitre > '. 1 

To Enghien she was not indifferent ; so all trustworthy 
evidence tends to prove. M. le Due had never been 
considered ' amiable ', in any sense of the word ; but 
apart from the glamour of his victories, he had other 
gifts which could make him fascinating. The sheer 
force. of his personality can never have been without 
effect. Marthe du Vigean was by no means wanting 
in spirit or intelligence, and the quality of Enghien's 
genius appealed to her strongly ; she could also share 
the intellectual tastes of a Prince who was a scholar as 
well as a soldier : 

" Son Altesse, que le Dieu Mars 
Epargna dans tout de hazards 
Et que Pallas, sa sure t guide, 
Couvre partout de son Egide ". 

1 Voiture, 


Beauty without wit was not much appreciated in the 
Chantilly circle ; and it is clear that, even in that chosen 
company, Mademoiselle du Vigean could hold her own. 

The danger which Richelieu had foreseen was the 
natural result of Marthe's disposition and principles ; 
he had delayed it, but he was too late to avert it 
altogether. Throughout the winter which followed 
the Rocroy campaign, rumours were circulated that 
M. le Due was making every effort to procure the 
annulment of his marriage. His plea, ostensibly, was 
that he had been forced into the contract as a minor, 
and against his own will ; both of which facts were 
certainly indisputable. Madame la Princesse, needless 
to say, took her son's part, as openly as she dared ; 
she undertook to broach the subject of the ' demariage ' 
to the Queen, whose consent was indispensable ; and 
she succeeded, for the moment, in keeping the whole 
project a secret from the Prince, her husband. The 
letters of one Gaudin, addressed to the diplomat 
Servien, whom he kept in touch with Court matters, 
give some idea of the state of family relations at the 
Hotel de Conde. Writing a week after Enghien 's 
return from Germany, he declares that " His Highness 
of Enghien has not seen his wife since he arrived ; 
unless it was three days ago, when the Prince repri- 
manded him ". Some days later he reports again 
" M. le Prince and the Due d 'Enghien are still dis- 
agreed. M. le Prince gave the Due d 'Enghien another 
sound reprimand, in the presence of Madame, his wife, 
and exhorted them to love each other ". Henri de 
Bourbon was just then chiefly engaged in carrying out 
a long-contemplated scheme of his own in connection 
with the interests of his daughter-in-law : a protest 
against the clause by which Richelieu, in his will, had 
cut off the Duchesse d 'Enghien from her inheritance, 
on the grounds that he had already provided her 
marriage portion. M. le Due took no part in this 
undignified struggle, having declared his willingness 
to renounce all claim to any such legacy, either for 
himself or his son. But the Prince was not to be 
defrauded ; after a long and humiliating suit, and 
many personal recriminations between him and the 
rival claimant, the Duchesse d'Aiguillon, 1 he made 

1 Marie-Madeleine de Vignerot, Duchesse d'Aiguillon, great-niece of 


good his cause, and secured possession of a substantial 

While the head of the family was thus preoccupied, 
Madame la Princesse had seized the opportunity to 
approach the Queen Regent ; it was a bold measure, but 
therein lay the only hope of success. In the end, the 
shade of Richelieu still seemed to prevail . Gaudin's letter 
of December 4th, 1643, records what was, in effect, the 
death-blow of the whole scheme. " Madame la Princesse 
has spoken to the Queen, touching the annulment of 
the Duke's marriage ; but the Queen will not hear it 
mentioned ". Whether this attitude was due to per- 
sonal scruples, or solely to Mazarin 's advice, does not 
appear. Mazarin, it is said, might have consented to 
the marriage being set aside, but for an unromantic 
conviction that he could not trust M. le Due at liberty. 1 
Once free, he might be enterprising enough to secure 
some more powerful alliance, which would make him 
independent of a Minister's favour. 

If Enghien's passion had left him more open to 
reason, he must have seen that, without the support 
of either Queen or Cardinal, his case was, to all intents 
and purposes, hopeless. He was married, according to 
all the laws of Church and State ; he had a son ; and 
now, in his father's eyes at least, this inheritance from 
Richelieu would forge another chain. But he refused 
to be convinced ; and, in any case, he allowed no 
principles to prevent him from paying his court openly 
to Mademoiselle du Vigean whenever occasion offered. 
The Prince's exhortations had fallen on deaf ears. 
M. le Due would not even consent to be present at the 
christening of his son, Henri-Jules 2 de Bourbon, 
which, in striking contrast to his own baptism, took 
place privately, without any show of rejoicing. The 
Duchesse d'Enghien had made no party for herself, 
and his attitude, on the whole, drew forth sympathy 
rather than scandal. Meanwhile the flirtations ., of 
the ' angels ' and the ' damoiseaux ' at the Hotel de 
Conde or at Chantilly, were carried on as before ; all 
with as little seriousness as was humanly possible : 

" Temps ou la ville, aussi bien que la cour, 
Ne respiraient que les jeux et 1'amour ". 

1 Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Memoires. 

2 The second name was tha.t of Mazarin, who stood sponsor. 


The prevailing spirit of ' la bonne Regence ' seems to 
be wholly summed up in St. Evremond's lines ; they 
can never cease to be quoted as long as the history of 
the age is read. Time after time the circle at Chantilly 
was broken by some tragic loss ; each campaign brought 
a lengthening roll of the ' damoiseaux ' who had gone 
out to the wars, never to return. But the victims 
themselves suffered gaily ; and the survivors, for the 
most part, went not less light-heartedly on their way ; 
1 les jeux et Famour ' triumphed. 

Such were the conditions of the society which 
Enghien left in Paris when the campaigning season 
opened in 1644. The death of Guebriant at Rottweil, 
barely a fortnight after his last parting with the Duke, 
created a vacancy which had been filled by Turenne. 
Thus the ' army of the Rhine ' was already provided 
for. Monsieur, seized with a sudden and short-lived 
martial ardour, demanded the ' army of Picardy ' for 
his portion ; there was no reason to suppose him 
efficient, but his rank, as well as his office of 'Lieutenant 
of the Kingdom ', made refusal impossible ; and he was 
dispatched to take up his command on the north- 
western frontier. Enghien, in this case, would willingly 
have accepted the post of Lieutenant-General. The 
Belgian frontier was the country best known to him, 
and where he most wished to serve. There would 
have been no loss of dignity involved ; for any ' son 
of France ' must inevitably take precedence, in name at 
least, over other Princes of the Blood ; and, since he had 
not yet gauged the force of passive resistance, he prob- 
ably felt equal to the task of imposing his will on 
Monsieur if occasion should arise. Monsieur, however, 
had no intention of appointing an energetic young 
cousin to overrule him, and drag him into hazardous 
enterprises. He chose Gassion and La Meilleraie for 
his subordinates. To Enghien was given the ' army of 
Champagne ', together with the government of that 
province. May loth found him entering on his duties 
at Verdun. He was to hold a force of ten thousand 
men in readiness to march, either northwards to support 
the ' army of Picardy ', or southwards to join Turenne 
and the ' army of the Rhine ' ; the direction to be 
determined by the course of events during the next 
few weeks. Monsieur was occupied in besieging Grave- 
lines, an undertaking which, as conducted by him and 


by his favourite adviser, the Abbe de la Riviere, was soon 
declared to be "a bottomless pit, for the sinking of 
men and money ". Not that Gaston himself was a 
daring or reckless commander; but he was quite 
incapable of authority over such men as Gassion and La 
Meilleraie. The two Marshals delayed operations 
indefinitely, by quarrelling with each other, and the 
siege was prolonged from week to week, with no apparent 

Turenne, on the German frontier, was opposed to 

an adversary fully worth of him ; a soldier of true 

genius, Francois de Mercy, a native of Lorraine ; now 

in the Austrian service and in command of a Bavarian 

army fifteen or sixteen thousand strong. Mercy had 

defeated Rantzau, and scattered the ' army of the 

Rhine ' at Tiittlingen, after the death of Guebriant. 

Turenne, succeeding to the command, had gathered up 

the fragments of an army and carried on the campaign ; 

but he was hard pressed by Mercy, and might need 

reinforcement at any moment. A third power to be 

reckoned with was that notorious Prince - errant, 

Charles iv, Duke of Lorraine, whose adventures deserve 

a volume to themselves. Born in 1604, he had succeeded 

to the Dukedom at twenty ; and at thirty he had been 

deprived of his inheritance by Richelieu's annexation 

of Lorraine to France. Since then he had been in the 

unusual position of a sovereign without a throne, but 

still at the head of an army ; his force, if small, was 

efficient ; and he was prepared to sell it, and himself, 

to the highest bidder. Mazarin would have been more 

than willing to secure his services, and had already 

entered on negotiations with him ; but Duke Charles, 

after much diplomatic hesitation, decided in favour of 

the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand n. The troops of 

Lorraine were now stationed east of the Moselle ; and 

part of Enghien's task, so long as he remained at his 

present post, was to hold them back from effecting a 

junction with Beck in Luxembourg. 

M. le Due's Lieutenant-General for the coming 
campaign was his friend the Marshal de Guiche, a 
choice which gave him great satisfaction. Guiche 
could not by any means he considered as an ideal 
companion of youth ; but he admired Enghien in all 
sincerity, and served him with devotion. The ' mare- 
chaux de camp ' were three in number : Espenan ; the 


Comte de Tournon, a promising young officer, one of 
the ' damoiseaux ' of Chantilly ; and Philippe de 
Clerambault, Comte de Palluau, afterwards a Marshal 
of France. The artillery was commanded by Aymar 
de Chouppes, a tried soldier, who through several 
campaigns had been attached to the Marshal de la 
Meilleraie. Chouppes, in his memoirs, asserts that 
only with the greatest difficulty could an officer be 
found to serve under the Duke in this capacity. The 
appointment lay with La Meilleraie, ' grand maitre de 
1'artillerie/ whose privilege it was to nominate the 
artillery officers for the whole army. Enghien was on 
bad terms with La Meilleraie ; according to Chouppes, 
he resented the Marshal's obtaining a post in the ' army 
of Picardy.' Therefore, as soon as it was known that 
a certain Comte de Montmartin, a relation of La 
Meilleraie, was to be given charge of the artillery in 
the ' army of Champagne/ M. le Due announced that 
" M. de Montmartin should not so much as set foot 
in his camp ", and demanded another officer of his 
own choosing. La Meilleraie hesitated ; he could not 
yield his whole prerogative of choice ; yet where was 
he to find an artillery officer valiant enough to face 
M. le Due, under the circumstances ? Chouppes, 
hearing the question raised, came forward, and offered 
himself. " The Marshal ", he says, " protested at 
first, that he did not wish me to make an enemy of 
M. le Due d 'Enghien, who was a great Prince, young, 
and of a violent temper ". "I believe ", answered 
Chouppes, " that he is too generous not to do justice 
to any gentleman who serves the King well and does 
his duty honourably ; I should feel that I insulted 
him if I thought I had anything to fear from him, so 
long as I served as I ought ". La Meilleraie, much 
relieved by this heroic frame of mind, and " charmed 
to be out of his difficulty ", gave him the appointment 
forthwith. Enghien received the new officer coldly, 
" but made no disagreeable remarks " ; and, on the 
whole, may fairly be said to have justified the confidence 
reposed in him. 

Chouppes, as a judge of his contemporaries, is not 
always to be trusted, but the pages just quoted seem 
to bear the stamp of truth. M. le Due, wise on occasion 
beyond his years, could also at times behave exceed- 
ingly like a spoilt child, more especially when his 


energies were not directed on active service. His 
administration as Governor of the province, in civil 
matters, could hardly be pronounced a success. One 
of his most conspicuous actions was to identify himself 
with the cause of a very worthless young man of his 
acquaintance, the Sieur de St. fitienne by name, who 
applied to him for help in a discreditable adventure. St. 
fitienne had eloped with an orphan heiress, Made- 
moiselle Claude de Salnove, whom he carried off from her 
home at Rheims. Her relations asserted that he had 
done so without the girl's consent, and were prepared to 
use force to bring her back. St. tienne appealed to the 
Duke, by whose order Mademoiselle de Salnove was 
placed under lock and key in a convent at Mezieres. By 
this time, however, she had discovered St. fitienne's 
true character ; he was brave neither in love nor 
in war, besides being penniless, and deeply in debt. 
With the connivance of her family she escaped from 
Mezieres and was brought back to Rheims ; where, for 
greater safety, she again took refuge in a religious house. 
Enghien was not greatly concerned over St. fitienne or 
his affairs, but he was enraged at finding his own 
authority disregarded. He ordered Champlatreux, 
' intendent de justice ' of the province, to go with an 
armed force and ' escort ' Mademoiselle de Salnove 
on her return to Mezieres. This was a step which 
nothing could justify. The Marquis de Rotelin, 
Governor of Rheims, and the only person who emerges 
with credit from the incident, shut the gates of the 
town and refused entrance to Champlatreux and his 
guards. Both parties now appealed to the Queen- 
Regent ; the Salnove family calling for redress against 
St. fitienne ; Enghien furiously complaining of Rotelin 's 
1 insolence ', and demanding that " the Queen shall not 
protect all the little rascals in my territory ". But no 
degree of indignation could establish a case for the 
Duke. His position was made still more hopeless by the 
conduct of Mademoiselle de Salnove ; ' une petitte 
fripone ', as he calls her, who now protested that she 
would have nothing more to do with St. fitienne, and 
that she hated him ' comme un diable '. This being so, 
no course remained but to restore her to her family ; 
though it was conclusively proved that the elopement, 
in the first instance, had certainly been effected with her 
full consent, if not at her suggestion. Enghien gave up 


St. fitienne's quarrel for good and all on hearing, soon 
after, that he had refused a duel with the brother 
of Mademoiselle de Salnove, for no better reason, 
apparently, than sheer disinclination. A man who 
would not fight, could not hope for sympathy from 
M. le Due. 

Fortunately, perhaps, for his reputation, Enghien 
was not long left to exercise the duties of a civil Gover- 
nor. Throughout June, Mazarin hesitated over the 
rival claims of Gaston and Turenne. At length, on a 
definite order to join the ' army of Picardy ', Enghien 
left Verdun, and assembled all his forces to march 
northwards, cutting off Beck from an advance into 
Flanders. Near Mouzon, almost on the frontier, he 
paused ; the communications from Turenne were not 
reassuring. Mercy had passed through the Black 
Forest and was laying siege to Fribourg. 1 Turenne, 
from his camp at Schallstadt, had made vigorous 
efforts to dislodge him, but in vain. The Bavarian 
troops, firmly established on the only available piece 
of level ground before the town, defied all attacks. The 
1 Army of the Rhine ' consisted mainly of a force in 
something of the same position as the troops of Lor- 
raine ; eight or nine thousand ' Weimarians ', whom 
their Duke, Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, had contracted 
to place at the disposal of the King of France. At the 
time of Duke Bernard's death, some five years earlier, 
the transaction had been renewed by his General, 
Erlach, a Swiss mercenary. It was an officer of Weimar, 
Kanowski - Langendorf , who now commanded the 
garrison in Fribourg. Towards the middle of July, 
Turenne 's letters to Mazarin become more and more 
urgent : " The enemy's having crossed the Black Forest, 
and the investment of Fribourg, make it impossible 
for me to move from here, and Your Eminence will see 
that I can make no advance in the direction you in- 
dicate ; if the state of affairs were to allow three or 
four thousand men to join me, coming by Saverne, 
or along the lower Rhine, it would be of the greatest 
importance. . . . The enemy came within reach of us, 
at the foot of the mountains, with the intention of fight- 
ing, and I tell your Eminence frankly, I had no mind 
for it in our present position ; for it is very certain that 

1 Freiburg-in-Breisgau. The French alternative is preferred to the 
German in the case of all frontier names. 



hallstadto Uf fhausen 

Krotzlngen nj 

{To face p. 93 


past misfortunes have created some apprehensions in 
our army ; a reinforcement, if we had it, would give all 
our troops fresh vigour. ... I have news that the 
Bavarians expect a reinforcement from the troops which 
the Duke of Bavaria is raising in his own country. If it 
is true, and if no help is sent to this army, I fear we shall 
have to retreat, and thereby ruin the whole plan of 
campaign". By July 2ist, Mazarin was so far in- 
fluenced as to send a dispatch authorising, though not 
positively ordering, M. le Due to reinforce the ' army 
of the Rhine ' at the earliest possible date. Enghien, in 
response to pressing exhortations addressed directly to 
him by Turenne, altered his route, and turned immedi- 
ately to the south ; crossed the Moselle at Metz, and 
advanced upon Fribourg with such speed that Turenne 
himself was amazed. " I hear that you are to be at 
Saverne to-day, which gives me great joy and astonish- 
ment ", he writes on July 29th ; " I beg of you, Mon- 
seigneur, to continue this haste, and I trust that the 
expedition may bring you much renown M . 1 

Turenne was perfectly aware that the Duke's arrival 
would relegate him, in name at least, to the post of second 
in command. Enghien 's rank alone might have been 
waived ; in his early campaigns he had been simply a 
1 volontaire ' ; but now, his rank and his reputation 
together were conclusive. Writing to Mazarin on the 
subject of a possible colleague, Turenne says plainly : 
' If it should be M. le Due d 'Enghien, I will obey him 
as I ought ; if it should be anyone else, I will do my best 
to accommodate myself to him". Officially, the two 
Marshals, Turenne and Guiche, were placed on the same 
footing ; each held a General's command under the 
Due d 'Enghien, Commander-in-Chief, or ' Generalissime '. 
Guiche was supposed to direct the ' army of Champagne ', 
or, as it was now called, ' of France ' ; Turenne remained 
in charge of the ' army of Weimar '. 2 Practically the 
difference was considerable ; for Enghien himself stayed 
with the ' army of France ', knowing well which of his 

z The word ' army ' was then used by French writers to denote any 
body of troops commanded by an officer of not lower rank than a Lieutenant- 
General ; whether acting independently, or with other such bodies under 
a Commander-in-Chief. Like other military terms of the period, it is often 
so loosely employed, that consistent translation into a modern term, such 
as ' brigade ', or ' army corps ', could scarcely be made without misappli- 


subordinates was less in need of supervision. Guiche 
he liked, and found socially congenial ; Turenne he 
respected, and continued to respect, in spite of both 
public and private differences, to the end of his life ; a 
fact all the more noteworthy, since respect was not a feel- 
ing easily aroused in M. le Due. ' The Prince and the 
Vicomte were of very different characters ", says the 
Chevalier Ramsay, Turenne 's eighteenth-century bio- 
grapher ; " but, inspired by the same love of the public 
good, they entered completely into each other's views, 
and their relations were undisturbed ". " Love of the 
public good " is not altogether a justifiable phrase, par- 
ticularly where Enghien is concerned. One common sen- 
timent there was, beyond question, which held him and 
Turenne closely together ; but it was not patriotism, 
or even loyalty ; it was the genuine and absorbing love 
of their profession. Ramsay might well speak of the 
' different characters ' of his two heroes ; they were 
scarcely less unlike in mind than in person. Out- 
wardly, the contrast was complete, between Enghien 's 
slight figure, eagle face, and extraordinarily vivacious 
presence ; and Turenne 's well-known air of solidity and 
profound reflection ; the inscrutable expression of his 
eyes and mouth bearing out contemporary records of 
" obscurity in his disposition and in his speech ". 1 
Enghien was as French in temperament as he was by 
birth ; Turenne, the grandson of William the Silent, 
showed more than one trace of his Dutch ancestry. 2 
Intimate friends they never were, and perhaps could 
not have been ; so wide apart were their tastes and con- 
victions on every subject save one. Yet it is impos- 
sible not to be struck by the force of this, the one passion 
which they shared ; the curious sympathy and sense 
of mutual understanding which it brings to all their 
intercourse, and which can be felt, in later years, piercing 
even through bitter personal dissensions ; till at last, 
as it was truly said, " in studying these two men we 
may learn from each what honour was due to the other ". 3 
For the present, and for some time to come, there was 
no sign of disagreement. Turenne, the elder by ten 
years, had, as he says, already conceived " a very 

1 Retz, Memoir es. 

2 Turenne was the second son of Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Due de 
Bouillon, and of his wife, Elisabeth, Princess of Orange-Nassau. 

3 Bossuet : " Oraison funebre de Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conde ". 


high esteem " for M. le Due before the campaign of 
Rpcroy. His own letters show that he was entirely 
willing to serve with him, or, if necessary, under him ; 
he professes this readiness not only to Mazarin, but in 
his private correspondence as well : " If M. d'Enghien 
is to command the reinforcement, I shall consider it an 
honour to serve under his orders ", 1 

The actual meeting of Enghien and Turenne took 
place at Brisach 2 on August 2nd. The 'army of 
Weimar ' had withdrawn from Schallstadt, and was 
now encamped at Krotzingen, a few miles farther on 
the road from Fribourg. Here the troops were to con- 
centrate, while Brisach, from its commanding position, 
was chosen as a rendezvous for the first council of 
war. Five days before this meeting there had been 
a change in the aspect of affairs ; at Benfeld, M. le 
Due found word awaiting him that his relief force would 
be too late to save the town. Fribourg had surren- 
dered ; prematurely, in the opinion of Turenne, who 
accused Kanowski of having done less than his duty. 
Mercy had, so far, shown no signs of moving. The 
1 apprehensions ' of Turenne 's army vanished before 
a reinforcement nine thousand strong, commanded 
by M. le Due ; and the only question before the council 
at Brisach was how best to force the Bavarians to a 
general action. 

The plan of Fribourg published by Ramsay, and 
supplemented by La Moussaye's narrative, shows most 
clearly the situation of the town on the outskirts of the 
Black Forest range ; before it, a little plain ' shaped 
like a crescent ' ; mountains behind it. To the right 
of the crescent, looking from Brisach, the steep sides of 
an outlying height, the Schonberg ; to the left, the 
Mooswald, an impracticable forest. The plain, it should 
be added, was called so only by courtesy, or by com- 
parison with the surrounding heights ; it was a tract 
of uneven ground, marshy in places, and offering no 
facilities for an attack. Mercy was posted with the 
mountains in his rear, and with a powerful detachment 
of infantry ready to defend the approach from Brisach, 
past the foot of the Schonberg; his headquarters were 
at Uffhausen, a small village east of the town. It 
would be hard to imagine a stronger position, held by a 
commander better able to take full advantage of it. 

1 Turenne to his sister, July 10, 1644. 2 Alt-Breisach. 


The council at Brisach has been reported in detail 
by two of those who took part in it ; Guiche, and 
Aymar de Chouppes. Espenan and Tournon, were 
also representing the ' army of France ' ; Palluau, 
with the rear-guard, did not arrive till evening, and went 
straight into camp at Krotzingen. With Turenne were 
the Marquis d'Aumont, his Lieutenant-General ; and one 
' marechal de camp ', Reinhold von Rosen, known to 
French soldiers as * le vieux Rose V the Livonian 
soldier of fortune who had commanded a cavalry regi- 
ment at Lutzen, then joined the Weimarian forces, and 
entered the service of France with them. Erlach, now 
Governor of Brisach, claimed a voice in right of his 
office, and, as both witnesses are agreed, was the 
leader of the party which opposed Turenne. Enghien, 
having only that instant arrived on the scene of action, 
was forced to rely entirely on others for information. 
Erlach 's opinion was that there should be no attempt 
to force the road between Brisach and Fribourg ; it 
was the one obvious approach, and Mercy's troops 
were guarding it from the lower slopes of the Schpn- 
berg. He suggested following the left, or opposite, 
curve of the crescent, skirting the Mooswald, by the 
little town of Denzlingen ; making no immediate 
attack, but passing on up the long defile of the Glotter- 
thal, which opened west of the town, and gaining a 
position some way to the enemy's rear. By so doing, 
they would cut off Mercy's supplies and close his 
nearest line of retreat ; the Bavarians " must either 
die of hunger, or be obliged to come out and give battle 
on less advantageous ground ". Guiche was inclined 
to support this view ; " but ", he says, " the Marshal 
de Turenne assured us that he had reconnoitred a 
pass (round the far side of the Schonberg) by which 
his troops could march to attack the enemy in their 
camp, while at the same time the Due d'Enghien 
might engage the infantry on the slopes ; and his 
advice was accepted ". 2 The objections urged to 
Erlach 's plan were the length of time necessary for 
carrying it out, which might end in Mercy's escaping 
them altogether ; and the long distance of exposed 
ground that must be covered. Coming from Krot- 

1 Also called ' le bon Rose ', to distinguish him from his two brothers ; 
Woldemar, ' le furieux ', and Johann, ' le boiteux '. 

2 Marechal-Duc de Gramont, Memoires. 

1 644] PLAN OF ATTACK 97 

zingen, the French army would be forced to pass before 
the whole length of the enemy's camp, giving Mercy 
the opportunity of attacking either in flank or in rear. 
Enghien, with whom the final decision rested, did not 
hesitate ; Turenne's advice seemed to him not only 
sound, but irresistibly attractive as well. " The bright 
eyes of danger " shone before him, and he followed. 
Chouppes also represents Turenne as the first to 
counsel an attack ; but he makes, further, the un- 
justifiable accusation that this course, with all its 
difficulties, was put forward out of jealousy, with 
the intention of tempting M. le Due's ambition, and 
embarking him in * une affaire epineuse '. Turenne and 
d'Aumont, so Chouppes affirms, both declared posi- 
tively that Mercy's camp was not entrenched, and 
purposely made no mention of the fortifications on the 
Schonberg. As it was quite impossible, in the circum- 
stances, that Turenne should escape implication in any 
failure of Enghien 's, such malice is hardly credible ; 
besides being inconsistent with the Marshal's whole 
character, and with his course of action on this and 
every other occasion. 1 Turenne may not have been 
fully aware of all that Mercy had added to his defences 
since the position had last been observed from Schall- 
stadt ; but however clearly he realised each obstacle, 
the drawbacks to the alternative scheme would still 
have existed, and his advice would probably have been 
the same. 

Early on the morning of August 3rd, the Duke 
himself, with Turenne, Guiche, and others, went for- 
ward to reconnoitre from the nearest possible point 
to the enemy. Then, indeed, there was a moment's 
hesitation among some of the officers when Mercy's 
full strength was revealed, and Erlach's suggestion 
may well have been renewed. But, for better or 
worse, it was not in Enghien 's nature to turn back at 
such a crisis ; nor is there any evidence to show that 
Turenne was one of those who favoured a change. He 
still maintained that the gorge circling the mountain 
was not impassable, and that he could force a way 
through to the camp at Uffhausen. . Enghien, with 
Guiche and the ' army of France ', was to undertake a 

1 Ramsay asserts that the idea of the combined attack was originated 
by Enghien ; but this does not seem to be supported by any authority 
nearer the time. 


frontal attack on the fortified side of the Schonberg. 
The position to be carried was a ridge, or spur, of the 
mountain, extending a little way into the plain ; sloping 
towards Fribourg and Mercy's camp on one side, and 
towards Brisach on the other. Five battalions only, 
of the Bavarian infantry, had been told off for its 
defence ; but there were natural advantages which 
atoned for any lack of numbers. The ' vineyards of 
Fribourg ' clothed all the mountain's lower slope ; 
up the steep ascent from the plain the vines were 
planted, in a succession of terraces, supported by 
straight earthen walls, four feet in height. Six hundred 
men, with five pieces of light artillery, occupied the 
principal fort ; the rest were posted in smaller re- 
doubts, or barricaded behind tree-trunks, which they 
had cut from the surrounding fir- woods, and piled 
together in the form known as l abattis '. Beyond the 
spur, the mountain itself rose sharply, preventing any 
attack from above. This position once gained, 
Enghien's troops might bear down straight upon 
Fribourg ; Turenne, if the attack at Uffhausen were 
successful, would join him before the town. One con- 
dition was evident ; if the combined movement was 
to succeed, the two attacks must be absolutely simul- 
taneous ; Turenne 's at Uffhausen, Enghien's on the 
Schonberg. Communication would be impossible on 
the march, when once the ' army of Weimar ' had 
entered the ravine ; but before the two forces 
separated, the Duke, so it is recorded, set two watches 
to the same moment, 1 and gave one to Turenne, telling 
him to engage the enemy at five in the afternoon ; the 
earliest hour by which an army could have circled the 
base of the mountain. 

By five o'clock Enghien's six battalions of infantry 
were drawn up in order at the foot of the slope, waiting 
for the word to attack. Espenan was to lead up the 
first two, from the regiments ' Enghien ' and ( Persan ; ; 
Tournon following with the men of ' Conti ' and 
' Mazarin-Francais '. M. le Due meanwhile sub- 
mitted, with considerable effort, to the received idea 
that a Commander-in-Chief should not begin by lead- 
ing an attack of this nature in person. Guiche, the 
' marecheaux de bataille ', Leschelle and Mauyilly, and 
the two remaining battalions stayed with him, 

1 Chouppes, Memoires. 


Palluau, in charge of the cavalry, was to guard against 
the danger of a sortie from the enemy's camp. Es- 
penan's men faced the slope bravely ; they came 
within a few yards of the first barricade, while from 
behind it the Bavarian infantry kept up a fierce, 
incessant fire. But to break through the defences 
seemed hopeless ; and under the hail of musket-shot 
the leading battalions began to give way. Their lines 
broke ; and the men took refuge in the woods of the 
upper slope, gaining safety for the time, but cutting 
themselves off from retreat. All this was observed 
by M. le Due, who, with his little group of officers, 
farther down the hillside, had advanced as near as 
was possible without actually sharing in the attack. 
' Conti ' and ' Mazarin ' had scarcely yet begun the 
ascent. Enghien exchanged a few hurried words with 
Guiche, and,; the next moment was seen on foot, 
climbing through the vineyard at the head of the 
soldiers of ' Conti '. One officer, it seems, tried to 
dissuade him ; " and I thought," wrote Guiche, de- 
scribing the incident, " that in another instant the 
Duke would have run him through ". Guiche himself, 
with Tournon and the whole staff, had likewise dis- 
mounted and joined one or other of the battalions ; 
at the head of ' Mazarin ' was the heroic figure of Jacques 
de Castelnau, 1 ' maitre de camp lieutenant ', one of 
the bravest and best soldiers of his time. Enghien led 
the way with an energy, an almost superhuman fire, 
which inspired ' all the courage imaginable '. Tradi- 
tion says that he flung his ' baton de commandement ' 
over the barricade, and called to his men to come with 
him and fetch it out. What is certain, is that he was 
among the first to scale the defences, and that the rest 
followed him blindly. The Bavarians were driven 
from their entrenchments with great slaughter ; some 
escaped into the woods, but many more were killed on 
the spot, defending themselves to the last, asking no 
quarter, and receiving none. 

The ridge was captured ; not without serious loss, nor 
beyond danger of being re-taken, if Mercy should 
seize the occasion to organise an attempt ; but still, so 
far, the ' army of France ' had done its appointed 
task. Evening was closing in, and before night fell, 
Enghien made a rapid survey of their position. Turenne 
1 Afterwards Marshal of France ; killed at the Battle of the Dunes, 1658. 


had attacked ; but he was still out of sight, and the 
noise of cannon could be heard from beyond Uffhausen. 
This engagement, and the increasing darkness, would 
secure the Schonberg from Mercy's attentions for the 
present. Sound was the only means of communication 
possible under the circumstances ; and as soon as the 
infantry had reassembled, the Duke ordered a great 
flourish of drums and trumpets, to make known, if 
might be, to the ' army of Weimar ' that his share of the 
work was done. One fort only remained in the hands of 
the enemy, and Chouppes was ordered to bring his 
artillery to bear on it. Enghien took up his quarters for 
the night in one of the smaller redoubts, where the 
Bavarians had made a last stand ; it was a grim resting- 
place, but no better shelter was available. All the 
ridge was strewn with the dead, as well as with the 
wounded and dying, whom there were scanty means of 
caring for, and none of transporting elsewhere. Late in 
the evening the clouds which had shortened the day- 
light, broke overhead in torrents of rain. Further action 
was hardly possible before daylight. Chouppes went 
forward, under cover of night, to reconnoitre the 
surroundings of the fort, and found, to his astonishment, 
that the enemy had evacuated it, and drawn off towards 
headquarters. ' I went immediately ", he says, " to 
tell M. le Due. I found him in the redoubt with the 
Marshal de Guiche ; they were wrapped in their cloaks, 
and sleeping among the dead bodies ". The news gave 
so much pleasure to M. le Due, that, rain and darkness 
notwithstanding, nothing would serve him but to set 
out there and then to inspect the fort, and see it 

While the ' army of France ' slept, the l army of 
Weimar ', a few miles away, kept up the engagement 
late into the night. Turenne had done his utmost. 
He had marched by roads hitherto considered impractic- 
able, and he had engaged the enemy at five o'clock; 
but he had not reached Uffhausen. The troops he 
found barring his way behind one of Mercy's improvised 
defences, were still some way from the far end of the 
pass. This first resistance was scattered, after a sharp 
fight. The Weimarians held on their march, though 
not without great danger and difficulty, delayed again 
and again by natural obstacles, and harassed by the 
enemy. Mercy had been warned of their approach ; 


he looked on the Schonberg position as impregnable, 
and directed all the remaining strength of his force 
towards the ravine. Turenne, as he reached the farther 
end, found awaiting him four infantry battalions and 
the whole of the Bavarian cavalry, under a commander 
of European reputation whom the French called 
'Jean de Wirth '- 1 For some hours the struggle raged 
hotly, scarcely checked by darkness, or by the storm 
of rain. Turenne had, if anything, gained ground ; 
but he had by no means succeeded in disengaging all 
his troops from the pass. By midnight Mercy received 
word that the French troops had stormed the Schonberg 
successfully ; he knew that he could not hope to bar the 
way much longer against Turenne, and that his only 
chance of escape lay in securing a new position during 
the next few hours. Orders were given for a retreat 
before daylight, and the movement was carried out 
with masterly promptness and discipline. Morning 
found the rear-guard of the ' army of Weimar ' freed 
at last from the defile ; and the Bavarians, two miles 
away, taking up their new post on the Josephsberg, a 
wooded height south-east of Fribourg, immediately 
overlooking the town. 

August 4th dawned, wet, grey, and discouraging. 
Enghien came down into the plain to meet Turenne, 
under these depressing conditions, and together they 
reviewed the situation. Both Generals were equally 
determined on renewing the attack. Whether it would 
be expedient to make an attempt on the Josephsberg 
that same day, was another question. The weather 
was unfavourable ; rain still fell heavily, and the ground 
in most places was little better than a swamp. The 
men were tired ; Turenne 's forces had scarcely rested 
during the night. After a short deliberation it was 
agreed to defer the action for twenty-four hours. The 
enemy, it was true, would also gain time, and Mercy 
would probably strengthen his defences ; but even so, 
there was less chance of total failure than in leading an 
exhausted army, through a marsh, to the attack. All 
day the troops of France and Weimar stayed inactive 
in the plain ; they had taken up their quarters in the 
deserted camp of the Bavarians at Uffhausen. On the 
road to Brisach, a long, slow file of carts and litters 

1 Correctly, Jan van Wert, a native of Gelderland, and a renowned 
soldier of fortune. 


passed, carrying the wounded into the shelter of the 
town. Looking towards Fribourg, and the Josephsberg, 
the woods and vineyards of the slope hid some details 
of the enemy's position ; but its chief advantages were 
fairly clear. Mercy was occupying the open ground 
which forms the summit of the Josephsberg, a space 
so slightly inclined as to be almost a plateau, and large 
enough to hold several thousand men. On his left 
was the ruined tower of Wonnhalde, round which were 
concentrated four infantry battalions ; on his right rose 
another stronghold, the mound now known as ' Loretto '.* 
Along the edge of the plateau, and at intervals among 
the vineyards on the hillside, were ' abattis ', or bar- 
ricades of fir-trees. Between the mountains and the 
town, the cavalry, under Jean de Wirth, guarded against 
any attempt to turn the position. No pass of any kind 
encircled the height ; to the south, an inaccessible 
mountain ridge connects the Josephsberg with the 
Schwarzberg, which towers behind it. 

A direct frontal attack upon an enemy so placed, was 
not a measure to be lightly undertaken. The French 
Generals' only excuse against a charge of rashness must 
be that Mercy, though weakened by the actions of 
August 3rd, was far from being disabled. It was 
certain that he would neglect no opportunity if they 
were to show signs of retreat ; or, if they were to lead an 
army past him, turning into the Glotterthal with both 
flank and rear exposed. By the evening of the 4th, 
orders for the advance had been drawn up and issued. 
The attack on Wonnhalde was to be made by the 
Weimarian infantry under d'Aumont. The infantry 
of France, under Espenan, were to make a half turn to 
the left, so as to engage the enemy opposite Loretto. 
Espenan was supported by Mauvilly, and d'Aumont by 
a Weimarian officer, Taupadel, 2 each with a small 
body of cavalry. Between Loretto and Wonnhalde 
two or three battalions, detached from Espenan's 
infantry, were to make a ' holding ' attack for the 
sake of directing the enemy's attention to a third point. 
Guiche, with the main strength of the cavalry, was to 

x A chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Loretto, has since been built on 
this mound, in memory of those who fell in action on August 3 and 5, 

This name has proved a difficulty to French contemporary writers, 
who give it variously as ' Deubatel ', ' du Tubal ', and ' Teubatel '. 


watch Jean de Wirth's movements in the plain. At 
daybreak on the 5th, the start was effected ; " and as 
the sun rose ", says Aymar de Chouppes, " we found 
ourselves in presence of the enemy ". Enghien had 
given instructions for the order of the separate attacks. 
Leschelle, with a battalion of musketeers, was at the 
head of d'Aumont's infantry. The ascent leading to 
Wonnhalde was the easiest approach ; and he was 
therefore to wait until he heard, from the sound of 
firing, that Espenan's force had negotiated the steeper 
climb below Loretto, and given the signal to the smaller 
detachment half-way between them. By this means, 
the three attacks would be made almost simultaneously. 
During the advance, Enghien and Turenne together 
had gone forward to reconnoitre from a point towards 
the south, fully expecting to rejoin the troops before 
the time came for a general engagement. Suddenly, 
to their astonishment, the sound of firing made itself 
heard ; a sound, not of scattered shots, but of a steady, 
continued fire. Almost at the same moment, a distracted 
messenger appeared, sent by the officers of the right, 
to summon M . le Due . Espenan had achieved the greatest 
of his mistakes. Guiche, La Moussaye, Chouppes, 
Turenne himself, agree in accusing him. Knowing, 
as he did, that Leschelle depended on his fire for a signal, 
he still thought it well to begin operations, not by 
scaling the height of Loretto, but by seizing a small 
redoubt near the foot of the ascent. Turenne, the 
greatest, and the least severe, of his critics, can find 
no better reason for such conduct than that " either 
he did not think the consequences could be so important, 
or he hoped to distinguish himself by this little inde- 
pendent action ". The holders of the redoubt made 
a vigorous defence, and a brisk skirmish followed. 
Leschelle, hearing unmistakable sounds of battle, 
obeyed the call, and advanced instantly up the slope, 
thus making an attempt to storm the enemy's position 
single-handed. Enghien arrived at full speed, to 
find the whole plan of attack thrown into utter con- 
fusion ; Leschelle killed, the musketeers scattered, 
and the foremost of d'Aumont's infantry driven down 
the hill, demoralised by a hot fire from the plateau. 
Turenne prepared to bring up the troops still in reserve. 
Enghien stayed to direct those already in action. It 
was still early when, with d'Aumont to second him, he 


gathered the leading battalions together to renew the 
attack ; and throughout the whole of that fierce, 
interminable day, the French infantry was hurled relent- 
lessly against the enemy's barricades ; beaten back 
time after time, only to be rallied desperately and led 
forward again. This was not a position which could 
be carried, like the Schonberg, by a rush ; Mercy's 
battalions held their ground, supported by his 
cavalry and artillery on the farther slope, next the 
town. Those who were actually sharing in the fight, 
and who recorded what +they saw and heard, have 
left no very lucid survey of the action as a whole ; their 
experiences are too strictly personal. But not one 
fails in giving the impression of sustained and pitiless 
effort ; of turmoil, and fury, under an August sun, 
among vines, and thick branches, and obstacles without 
number. Above all, they call to mind the figure of 
M. le Due, whose courage was only heightened by 
danger, and who seemed to bear a charmed life, for he 
was most of the day on horseback within thirty paces 
of the enemy. 1 The attack on Wonnhalde lasted six or 
seven hours. Guiche, all the while stationed in the 
plain, could see the conflict growing more and more 
furious ; and, as he says, " concluded beyond doubt 
that the Due d'Enghien was engaged in the midst of it ". 
The certainty was too strong for Guiche, who looked 
on his young General as being more or less in his charge ; 
he left his own command to Palluau and hastened 
off towards the slope. As he went, he was met by a 
train of the wounded, who were being brought down 
the hill ; they told him " that the Due d'Enghien was 
at the head of the infantry, and was leading them 
in person, under the hottest of the fire ". 2 Guiche 
quickened his pace, and had reached the edge of the 
vineyard when his horse was hit by a stray shot and 
fell with him. As he rose to his feet, he saw Enghien 
coming down from the attack ; " having only a few 
of his own men with him, for the rest had been killed at 
his side ". One of his companions was Espenan, who, 
if he could not atone for his fault, seems at least to have 
fought with great courage during the rest of the day. 
As for the Duke, part of his saddle had been carried 
away by grapeshot ; and more than one musket-ball 

1 Relation de La Moussaye. 

2 Marechal-Duc de Gramont, Mtmoires. 


had grazed his clothing. He was far too much excited 
to be in the smallest degree conscious of fatigue or 
danger ; his one idea was to renew the attempt instantly 
from a different point. Fresh battalions were brought 
up, and an attack organised, this time to be led by 
Mauvilly, against the great barricade before Loretto ; 
Wonnhalde could not be forced at the same time, but 
Turenne was to keep the enemy occupied there, as 
long as possible. The fight raged again, more savagely 
than ever. Behind their defences the Bavarians had 
been strengthened from an unexpected source. Gaspard 
de Mercy, brother of the General, was second in com- 
mand of the cavalry ; he ordered his horsemen to 
dismount, and led them up the farther hillside, to join 
the troops on the plateau. The fire from the barricades 
was overpowering ; yet still the attacking force came 
up within such close range that pistol-shots were 
exchanged between the branches of the abattis. 
Mauvilly was killed, and his place taken by Castelnau, 
who, though wounded, held it for the rest of the day. 
The losses were heavy on the Bavarian side ; Gaspard 
de Mercy was among the dead ; but the French infantry 
suffered more, and it is especially noted that the number 
of officers and ' volontaires ' who fell, exceeded all pro- 
portion. Fribourg, with its vineyards, may surely claim 
a share of that loveliness which the German folk-song 
gives to another city : 

" du wunderschone Stadt ! 
Darinnen liegt begraben so manniger Soldat. 
So mancher, so schoner, so braver Soldat ". 

Evening closed on the terrible scene described by 
Guiche and by La Moussaye ; the French soldiers, 
with scarcely an officer left to direct them, unnerved by 
long hours of exposure, and afraid to draw back across 
the open, seeking desperately for cover ; some even 
sheltering against the barricade itself. 1 La Moussaye 
adds that " in the smoke and confusion, the men's 
faces could only be distinguished by their match-lights. 
The noise of firing re-echoed through the woods with 
a fearful sound, increasing the horrors of the fight ". 
At length, almost at nightfall, Enghien allowed 

1 " Ce qui restoit d'infanterie tachoit de mettre a 1'abri en se collant le 
plus qu'elle pouvait centre 1'abatis d'arbres que les ennemis avoient faite". 
Memoires du Marechal-Duc de Gramont. 


the question of retreat to be considered. So long as a 
chance remained of the enemy sallying out for a counter- 
attack, he had refused to think for a moment of giving 
way. Turenne was equally resolute, and sent several 
messages to M. le Due during the day, saying that, 
come what might, he would try to hold on till evening. 1 
Mercy's losses, however, had been not much less than 
their own ; even without the darkness, he would 
scarcely have ventured on an offensive movement ; 
and, as Guiche observed, it would be sheer cruelty, 
on the French side, to sacrifice the remaining infantry, 
who were no longer even fighting in self-defence. Orders 
were given for the shattered remnants of d'Aumont's 
and Espenan's battalions to draw off to Uffhausen. 
The French admitted no defeat, in spite of their failure 
to carry the position. They had disabled Mercy from 
following them ; their forces withdrew in good order, 
bringing off the wounded ; and not a single piece of 
artillery was left in the enemy's hands. Their losses 
had been fearful ; " their blood was shed like water, 
on every side " ; but ' les armes de Sa Majeste ' were in 
no way disgraced. 

For the three next succeeding days the armies 
rested ; each was too utterly exhausted to make any 
movement, either of attack or retreat. It was a 
ghastly interval, and one spoken of afterwards with 
more horror than the fight itself. The heat was stifling 
in the enclosed plain ; and around both camps the 
dead lay thickly. The total number of killed on both 
sides during the two days' conflict amounted to nearly 
nine thousand ; the Bavarians had lost more heavily 
on the first day, and the French on the second. Mercy 
reports to the Elector of Bavaria that " according to 
the statements made by our prisoners, the enemy's loss 
(on August 5th) may be counted by thousands ". 
Enghien's account to Mazarin, is that " if the Bavarian 
forces are not entirely destroyed, at least they are so 
much damaged that they cannot recover themselves 
for some time. As for ourselves, we have certainly 
lost great numbers ; but not to compare with the 
enemy ; the loss has fallen more on the officers than 
on the men, and it is impossible to say what zeal and 
courage was shown by them all ". Even Espenan 
comes in, among several others, for a word of praise ; 

1 Turenne, Memoires. 


M. le Due could be very indulgent to faults which 
sprang from over-eagerness. " Poor Mauvilly ", he 
says, " had won the greatest honour in the hour of his 
death ". La Mpussaye " had three horses killed under 
him, and was hit by a musket-ball in the arm ". ' M. 
le Marechal de Turenne served with all the courage and 
capacity imaginable ". 1 " All our troops did well, 
and I assure you no army was every nearer destruction 
than that of the enemy ". Some degree of failure is 
acknowledged, in a spirit of piety, not too submissive : 
" Dieu ne Ta pas voulu ; nous en retrouverons peut- 
etre Toccasion ". 2 

Every objection to Erlach's original design of an 
advance through the Glotterthal had now been removed. 
To stay longer before Fribourg, in that place of death, 
was impossible ; already there was much illness in the 
camp. The enemy fared worse, if anything, from 
being encamped in a more confined space ; they were 
short of provisions and of forage, and it was evident that 
Mercy must withdraw from his present position without 
delay. His natural, and almost inevitable, line of 
retreat was through a narrow pass, the St. Peters thai, 
which opened southwards among the mountains to 
his rear, leading first to the Abbey of St. Peter, and 
thence through the Black Forest to the safe territory 
of Wurtemberg. Below the rock on which the Abbey 
stands, the Glotterthal joins the St. Petersthal, forming, 
as it were, the point of a V ; and here the French 
Generals hoped to intercept his march. Mercy had been 
so far worsted that his chief anxiety was to escape 
without being forced to defend himself a third time ; 
his plans were skilfully laid, and, in the end, he came 
very near in achieving his object. 

Before sunrise on August 9th, the French army, 
with the Weimarians forming an advance guard, was 
advancing towards Denzlingen, a small town at the 
mouth of the Glotterthal. At the head of all, Reinhold 
von Rosen, with eight hundred horsemen, and Castelnau 
with the musketeers, were to push on and delay the 
enemy, if necessary, till the rest could come up. Mercy 
lost not an instant. At the first sign of movement 

1 Turenne returns the compliment in a letter to his sister written the 
same day (August 8) : " M. le Due d'Enghien is as determined, and as 
capable, as it is possible to be ". 

2 A.C., August 8, 1644. 


in the French camp, he gave orders for his troops to 
take the road through the St. Petersthal ; he had 
reached the pointrwhere the valleys join on the morning 
of the ioth, and his rear-guard, with the artillery and 
baggage, was in the act of passing the Abbey of St. 
Peter when Rosen's cavalry were sighted emerging 
from the Glotterthal. Rosen forthwith engaged the 
enemy's infantry, commanded by Mercy in person, 
which had faced about to receive him. Each side was 
at some disadvantage ; Rosen, as he stood, was greatly 
outnumbered, and his squadrons, issuing from the 

Eass, were obliged to form up under the Bavarian's 
re. Mercy, on the other hand, could not drive the 
Weimarian cavalry back into the defile, for fear of 
finding himself engaged with the main strength of 
Enghien's force. The skirmish lasted two hours. By 
the end of that time, Mercy had secured a temporary 
advantage. Without staying to press it further, he 
turned and continued his retreat in haste ; for the 
French troops could be heard coming on through the 
defile. All his baggage and several pieces of artillery 
were left behind. Enghien sent pressing orders to 
his advance guard, who quickened their pace ; but in 
vain. The Bavarians had gained a start, and had 
used it to such purpose that there was little hope of 
overtaking them. Some attempt at pursuit was kept 
up as far as the plateau of Hohlgraben, where it was 
expected the enemy would camp for the night ; but 
though traces of preparation were found, Mercy had 
not stayed his march. For twenty leagues he scarcely 
halted ; his next camp was at Schomberg, in Wurtem- 
berg ; and four days later he was safe in the Franconian 
town of Rothenburg-on-the-Tauber. 

The French troops returned, at a more leisurely 
pace, from Hohlgraben to St. Peter on the evening 
of August ioth. If Mercy had outstripped them, there 
was at least some consolation in the thought that his 
retreat had been not unlike a flight. To leave baggage 
and artillery to their fate, in the fear of pursuit, was, 
to some extent, a confession of defeat. It was no 
wonder that the enemy's belongings were pillaged 
" by order, and with great satisfaction ". 1 Enghien 
repeats joyfully that " though the army escaped, the 
troops were in strange disorder, and will not soon 

1 Mar6chal-Duc de Gramont, Mkmoires. 


recover themselves ". This last statement was un- 
deniable. Mercy's force might, for the moment, be 
discounted, and he had left the ground clear. ' We 
are just about to consider our next undertaking ", 
Enghien continues his report to the Cardinal, " and 
in a day or two I will inform you of it, that we may 
hear your decision ". 1 He asks urgently for a rein- 
forcement of infantry, to repair the losses of August 5th. 
Mazarin was not unwilling to supply the troops ; but 
he feared the well-known dislike to service in Germany, 
and would not dispatch them without some delay 
and many precautions. Even the officers, apparently, 
were not to be told of their true destination until after 
they had started. Enghien, judging by his own ex- 
perience, thought so much mystery superfluous : "I 
never found any concealment necessary ", he says, 
" over our march into Germany. I told everyone of 
it myself, so that the officers might make up their 
minds to it with a good grace, and set their men a 
cheerful example. I do assure you it answered better 
than if I had cheated them ". 2 Henri de Bourbon 
meanwhile sends a warning that assistance must not 
be too much depended on, for the troops that have 
been chosen are " newly raised, and very indifferent ". 
As a matter of fact, nearly a month passed before they 
succeeded in reaching the frontier ; by which time 
the campaign was almost at an end. Enghien seems 
to have been prepared for this contingency from the 
first ; but his designs were none the less on a larger 
scale than the Government had foreseen, or, indeed, 
than public opinion was inclined to approve. The 
French army had forced Mercy off the field, chiefly, 
it was supposed, as a preliminary to retaking Fribourg. 
Now, as it appeared, M. le Due intended to relinquish 
this idea entirely, and was bent, instead, on the conquest 
of the Rhine. Fribourg had a peculiar value in the 
eyes of France ; it was one of the farthest points which 
had been captured within the enemy's territory, and 
to preserve it was looked on rather as a point of honour. 
Letters from Paris, both private and official, show 
that the acquisition of Fribourg was expected as a 
right ; and one of them, written by the Regent, in 

1 MS. in a private collection. 

2 To Mazarin, from a private collection ; see Due d'Aumale, Histoire 
des Princes de Conde. 


the King's name, amounts almost to a Royal command. 
True, there were exceptions ; Madame la Princesse 
asks no further conquests of any kind ; nothing but 
her son's health and safety : 

" I am in such constant terrors that I cannot rest, 
night or day ; you have forgotten your promise that 
you would take care -of yourself, for love of me, since 
I have no joy or pleasure in life but through you ; be 
careful, my dear child, if you love me, and believe 
that I love you more than my life ", 1 

M. le Due's own personal friends, the * petits-maitres ', 
are only loud in their joy over Mercy's losses and 
retreat, mingled with regrets at not having shared in 
so delightful an occasion. Thus, Francois de Mont- 
morency, Comte de Boutteville, 2 then a precocious 
boy of seventeen, writes : "I know how much your 
Highness dislikes compliments ; but though you beat 
me for it, as if I were a Bavarian army, I must still 
tell you that the glory of your victory is so vast, and 
so all-sufficing, that it would crown all our Marshals 
of France, and a million of Princes, from whom may 
God deliver us ! and there would still be enough left 
for an honest man. The death of Madame de la Marck, 
and the business which came on me through the suc- 
cession, took from me the honour of following you to 
Germany ; I can only console myself by seeing your 
safe return to Paris, which I own I await with the 
greatest impatience, though I am assured that your 
Highness has a legion of ' angels ' for your protection. 
I will leave those who are better informed than I am 
to give you news on this subject. All I know is, that 
Mesdemoiselles de Rambouillet and de Boutteville said 
their prayers yesterday with such fervour, that they 
could scarcely be withdrawn from their ecstasy ". 3 
|, Other congratulations were not wanting, for Mercy 
and his Bavarians had long been the scourge of the 
frontier. But when the Duke's further intentions 
became generally known, they were met on all sides 
by a chorus of disapproval. Even in his own council 
he had, at first, no small opposition to contend 
with. After the shattering experiences of the past 

1 A.C., August 16, 1644. 

2 Afterwards Marechal-Duc de Luxembourg. 3 A.C., 1644. 


few days, it was something of a shock to the French 
and Weimarian officers, to hear that their next enter- 
prise would be the siege of Philippsbourg, sixty leagues 
away, and that not a moment was to be lost in taking 
the road. Enghien would hear of no alternative. 
Fribourg would have been an easy and well-sounding 
conquest ; but its position, overlooked by the French 
garrison of Brisach, was not, strategically, of the first 
importance ; and at best, the place could have been 
only an isolated possession. Now, before Mercy could 
recover his forces, was the moment for securing the 
actual Rhine towns : Philippsbourg, Spires, Worms, 
Mannhein, and the command of all the river down 
to Mayence. " My plan ", he said, " is to send the 
artillery, the provisions, and the siege implements, 
down the Rhine from Brisach ; the commissariat officers 
will go to Strasbourg and buy flour for the bread ; 
the baggage and artillery which we left at Metz will 
set out at once to join us ; and I shall take the troops, 
as fast as they can go, towards Philippsbourg ; so that 
all the necessaries for the siege may arrive there at the 
same time ". The money for the siege expenses should 
be borrowed in Strasbourg in his own name ; and as 
for the lack of infantry, " the courage of those who 
were left, must make up for what was wanting in 
numbers ". Before this frame of mind objections 
melted away. M. le Due's determination and resource 
were, by themselves, quite sufficiently compelling ; and 
when, in addition, he exerted himself to put forth all 
his powers of pleasing, the result was irresistible. The 
forced marches to Philippsbourg were long and trying ; 
but " the cheerfulness of the General officers, and the 
kindness and condescension of the Duke to officers and 
men alike, smoothed away all difficulties ". 1 

Turenne also witnesses to a state of complete har- 
mony : " M. d'Enghien could not possibly make himself 
more acceptable to me, and I have no difficulties with 
M. le Marechal de Guiche ; there have been no (personal) 
disagreements, and we are all good friends "* 

The French army reached Philippsbourg on August 
25th, some time before the Court had recovered 
from the annoyance of hearing that Fribourg was 
abandoned. Henri de Bourbon bewails his son's 

1 Marechal-Duc de Gramont, Mtmoires. 

2 Turenne to his sister, August 12, 1644. 


ambition, much as he had done before the siege of 
Thionville ; he dwells on the ' facherie non-pareille ' which 
has been caused, and also on his own displeasure at such 
rashness, " when there were sure means of maintaining a 
great reputation, without risk ", 1 This mental attitude 
continued for a fortnight ; at the end of which time 
news arrived that the first step of Enghien's design 
had been accomplished. Philippsbourg, taken una- 
wares, had surrendered after a twelve days' siege. 
The effect on the Rhenish towns farther north sur- 

Eassed all expectation. The municipal authorities at 
pires and at Worms wrote, tendering their submission 
to the Duke, and asking the protection of the French 
Government in the future. Enghien stayed for a few 
days in Philippsbourg, superintending the repair of the 
fortifications, while Turenne and d'Aumont reduced 
two or three smaller fortresses, and occupied the 
garrisons of their new dependencies. On September i /th 
the burghers of Mayence threw open their gates with- 
out resistance, and the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral 
came out to present M. le Due with the keys of the 
town. " I am rejoiced beyond expression by your 
miraculous victories ", wrote the Prince, with an abrupt 
change of tone, finding himself overwhelmed by con- 
gratulations from all parties. The last achievement 
of the campaign was the taking of Landau, a stronghold 
of Duke Charles of Lorraine, and the connecting link 
between Philippsbourg and Metz. Landau surrendered 
to Turenne on September 26th. The garrison left by 
Duke Charles was less easily overcome than some of 
the neighbouring forces, and its defence cost the life 
of d'Aumont. Tournon, ' the last hope of a noble 
family ', had fallen at Philippsbourg, after escaping 
countless dangers during the two days of Fribourg ; 
otherwise, these later conquests had brought few losses. 
D'Aumont had done good service, and he died as became 
a ' gentilhomme de haut lieu '. " I have visited M. 
d'Aumont ", Turenne writes to the Duke from Landau, 
" and found him with a countenance as calm and 
determined as ever. He has a surgeon with him, who 
declares that the thigh-bone is not broken ; but he 
himself feels sure that it is ". The doctors, Turenne 
adds, think badly of the wound ; but " I have never 
seen anyone show greater firmness or composure. He 

1 A.C., August 27, 1644. 


spoke to me of the pay that was owing to him, but 
only to ask that the Queen might give it to his wife "* 
Turenne, with ' the armyt>f Weimar ' and the reinforce- 
ments which had at last arrived, established his head- 
quarters at Spires for the winter. Enghien and the 
' army of France ', whose expedition to the Rhine had 
drawn them from their lawful territory in Champagne, re- 
crossed the frontier. The campaigning season was over. 
M. le Due lost no time in returning to Court ; " where ", 
says an appreciative chronicler, " the Queen prepared 
for him the most agreeable entertainments, and all the 
recreations he deserved, after so much fatigue and 
exertion ". 

1 A.C., September 25, 1644. 



THE Court of the Regency was never gayer, or more 
brilliant, than during the winter which followed the 
Fribourg campaign. The armies of France had been 
everywhere successful ; in Flanders as well as on the 
Rhine. Even Gravelines had surrendered in the end ; 
and now, who so triumphant as Monsieur ? Courtiers 
ranked him and Enghien together as ' the two con- 
querors ' ; while his daughter, ' la Grande Mademoi- 
selle ', shows in her memoirs the most unmistakable 
joy and relief at his appearing, for once, in such a 
creditable light : " The news of the surrender gave me 
inexpressible pleasure, for I always had the greatest 
affection for Monsieur, even when I did not think he 
was treating me well ". Enghien, if not flattered, 
was at least indifferent to hearing his name coupled 
with Monsieur's. His own military reputation, he 
knew, was safe with all those whose opinion he valued ; 
and he allowed the complacency of the House of Orleans 
on that head to rest undisturbed. His relations with 
Monsieur were naively said to be "as friendly as was 
possible between Princes who made no pretensions to 
sincerity 'V and the whole state of Court politics seemed 
to promise conditions of most unwonted peacefulness. 

Enghien found the Queen-Regent and the little 
King spending the autumn at Fontainebleau ; he stayed 
just long enough to pay his respects in due form, and 
then hastened to Chantilly, where the whole coterie 
were awaiting him. Here, the surroundings were 
nothing short of ideal, to a young man of his tastes and 
disposition, returning from a strenuous campaign. 
The writers of the time vie with each other in dwelling on 

1 Motteville, Memoires. 


the enchantments of Chantilly, when Madame la Prin- 
cesse was its chatelaine. 1 Even at the present day, 
in spite of the years and changes that have passed 
over it, some idea may be gained of the charm of this 
castle, set among woods and waters, in its golden age. 
" The Court of Chantilly ", it was said, " might yield 
in numbers to the Court of Fontainebleau, but not 
in pleasures or in gallantry ". ;< Besides the natural 
beauty of the place, there were games, walks, music, 
hunting, and everything that could make time pass 
delightfully n . 2 Acting was a popular amusement, 
and in the warmer months, plays and ballets were given 
in the gardens in the open air. Sometimes the enter- 
tainments were held at Chantilly, and sometimes at 
Liancourt, a few miles distant, where the hostess, 
Jeanne de Schomberg, Duchesse de Liancourt, was one 
of the Princess's most intimate friends. Enghien him- 
self has helped to describe some favourite occupations, 
in a rhyming letter, written by him, and others of 
the ' damoiseaux ', to two unfortunate companions, 
whose duties called them elsewhere. The letter has 
many stanzas, of which a few will suffice : 

" Dans un lieu, le plus beau qui soit au Monde, 

Ou tout plaisir abonde, 
Ou la nature et Fart, etalant leurs beautes, 

Font nos felicites ; 
Une troupe sans pair de jeunes demoiselles, 

Vertueuses et belles, 
A pour son entretien cent jeunes damoiseaux, 

Sages, adroits et beaux. 
Chacun fait a 1'envie briller sa gentillesse, 

Sa grace, et son addresse, 
Et force son esprit pour plaire a la beaute 

Dont ilest arrete". 3 

The l comedies ', ' serenades ', and ( mascarades ' are 
mentioned, and also the pleasures of sport : 

" Les dames bien souvent, aux plus belles journees 

Montent des haquenees ; 
On vole la perdrix, 4 ou Ton chasse le loup, 
En allant a Merlou. 6 

1 Chantilly was originally a possession of the Montmorency family, 
and passed, through Mme La Princesse (Charlotte de Montmorency), to 
the Princes of Conde. During her lifetime it was looked on as peculiarly 
her property. 

2 Histoire Manuscrite de la Regence d'Anne d'Autriche, Bibl. Nat. 

3 MSS. de Conrart, Bibl. de 1' Arsenal. 4 Hawking for partridges. 
5 Merlou or Mello, a smaller estate of the Conde family, not far from 



Les amants a cote leur disent a 1'oreille : 

O divine Merveille ! 
Laissez les animaux, puis-que vos yeux vainqueurs 

Prennent assez de coeurs ". 

This passion for verse-making amounted almost to a 
mania among members of the clique ; games and 
letters encouraged it till it seems possible to wonder if 
they even spoke in prose. Their efforts are quite un- 
pretentious, and evidently not intended for serious 
criticism ; it was simply the custom for anyone who 
had five minutes to spare, to use it in stringing lines 
together. M. le Due was as much a victim to the fashion 
as any of his friends. One All Saints' Day, on arriving 
at Liancourt, where several of the ' angels ' were assem- 
bled, he found, somewhat to his annoyance, that instead 
of staying to receive him, they had all gone to hear Mass. 
But the universal habit came to his aid ; and his revenge 
took the form of a verse, which he improvised as he 
waited : 

" Dpnnez-en a garder a d'autres, 
Dites cent fois vos patenotres, 
Et marmottez-en ce saint jour. 

Nous vous estimons trop habiles ; 
Pour oiiir des propos d'amour 
Vous quitteriez bientot vigiles". 1 

Among the Archives of Chantilly are other examples 
of the craze for composition. A letter addressed to the 
Comte de Toulongeon consists of ' sentiments ' written, 
in French or in Latin, by eight different hands, each 
contribution bearing the author's signature. Madame 
de Longueville leads the way : 

" Incipiam primis ludere carminibus". 


Madame la Princesse stands next, and, strange to 
relate, expresses herself in prose. Then follow ' Marie 
d 'Orleans ', 3 stepdaughter of the Duchesse de Longue- 
ville ; 'Julie d'Angennes ',* otherwise Mademoiselle de 
Rambouillet, and her future husband, the Due de 

1 MSS. Conrart, Bibl. de 1' Arsenal. 

2 It was the custom for ladies to sign by their own family name, even 
after marriage. 

3 Afterwards married to Henri de Savoie, Due de Nemours. 

4 The daughter of a noble house usually signed by her family name ; 
though she was known in society by a name taken from one of her father's 


Montausier ; Marthe du Vigean ; Enghien, and La 
Moussaye ; all of whom launch out into verse, as a matter 
of course. M. le Due's couplet refers to Toulongeon's 
nickname, l Prince d 'Amour ' : 

" Enfin vous Femportez, et la faveur d'un roy 
Vous eldve en un rang qui n'etoit du qu'a moy ". 


Poetry of a more serious kind also played an im- 
portant part ; classics were read and discussed ; and 
it was often told how M. le Due, for all his cynicism, had 
been moved to tears by a representation of Corneille's 
1 Cinna '. Campaigning had not lessened Enghien 's 
literary inclinations ; the impetus which his education 
at Bourges had given to a strong natural instinct never 
died away. All his life he was an insatiable reader ; 
even in camp he read, 'usually for two or three hours, 
before going to sleep. The influence of the Hotel de 
Rambouillet was all-pervading at Chantilly, and many 
topics of discourse bear plainly the mark of the ' pre- 
cieuse ', just then in her glory, and still untouched by 
satire. M. le Due and his companions-in-arms, 
Nemours, 1 Chabot, Coligny, and La Moussaye, must 
be pictured as joining Madame la Longueville and her 
friends in conversation ' on the delicacy of the senti- 
ments and the emotions '; making ' subtle distinctions 
in a manner described as ' galante et enjouee '. Enghien, 
it is true, was not always to be trusted on these occasions. 
He was quick enough to catch the jargon of the 
1 precieuses ' and to use it, now and then, with effect ; 
but it may be gathered that, though much might be 
allowed to a Prince, his tone was often too flippant and 
unrestrained not to shock some of the company. 

However much M. le Due might be lacking in sensi- 
bility, his nature was far too highly strung not to have 
an emotional side ; and all the emotion of which he 
was capable, at that moment, was concentrated in his 
attachment to Marthe du Vigean. Nothing could be 
more characteristic of the time than the undisguised 
public sympathy and interest with which this affair 
was regarded. Popular opinion was not concerned with 
the possibilities of a ' demariage ', which had only been 
discussed in the most intimate circles. It was enough 

1 Charles- Amedee de Savoie, Due de Nemours ; born 1622 ; succeeded 
his brother, who died at the siege of Aire, 1641. 


that here were the makings of an unusually exciting and 
romantic intrigue. M. le Due, the hero of Rocroy 
and Fribourg, had fallen in love, desperately, as became 
a hero, with one of the most beautiful women of the 
day. The Court poets encouraged him openly : 

"Enghien, delices de la Cour, 

Sur ton chef eclatant de gloire, 
Viens meler le myrte d' Amour 
A la palme de la Victoire". 

One writer, whose praise of Chantilly has already been 
quoted, concludes his description by saying : " The 
younger du Vigean was there, for whom the Due 
d'Enghien showed great friendship and tenderness ; 
she, on her side, gave him some encouragement, and 
everyone favoured them". 1 Everyone, that is to say, 
at Chantilly. The indulgent views of society were 
not shared, for various reasons, by three spectators, 
whose opinion was of the first importance ; namely, 
the Queen, Mazarin, and Henri de Bourbon. Any real 
prospect of the Duke's marriage being annulled, was 
as remote as ever ; Marthe continued true to her prin- 
ciples ; and the whole situation had practically arrived 
at a deadlock. 

Enghien was not the only one of the ' damoiseaux ' 
who was conducting a love-affair under difficulties. 
During the winter of 1644-45, a nine days' wonder was 
brought about by the elopement of Gaspard de Coligny 
and Isabelle de Montmorency - Boutteville ; M. le 
Due, to whom Coligny had turned for support in this 
act of defiance to his family, being the protector, if 
not the instigator, of the scheme. Coligny, known 
also as the Comte de Chatillon, was the younger son 
of the Due de Chatillon, a leader of the Huguenot party. 
The tragic death of his brother Maurice, who fell in a 
duel by the hand of the Due de Guise, had made him 
heir to immense family possessions, and a marriage 
had at once been suggested for him with a Huguenot 
heiress, Mademoiselle de la Force. 2 Coligny refused 
to hear of any such arrangement. He had already ab- 
jured the Huguenot faith, partly, if not wholly, to 
recommend himself to Mademoiselle de Boutteville, 

1 Histoire Manuscrite, Bibl. Nat. 

2 Charlotte de Caumont de la Force, Dame de Saveilles ; afterwards 
the wife of Turenne. 


who, though undeniably beautiful and of good family, 
was almost portionless, and had been brought up an 
enemy of ' la religion pretendue reformee '. 'La belle 
Boutteville ' was just eighteen at the time of the crisis, 
and had already some years' experience as a reigning 
beauty. Coligny was the most brilliant and attractive 
of her suitors ; he had distinguished himself con- 
spicuously in action ; Enghien's friendship made him 
sure of advancement ; and a great position would be 
his by inheritance. In addition, his friend Chavagnac 
records that this well-appointed hero of romance was 
' tall, straight, and well-made ', with ' large dark eyes, 
and an agreeable wit in conversation ' ; a combination 
of gifts which made him seem ' the most accomplished 
nobleman in France '. Notwithstanding all these 
qualifications, Madame de Boutteville, the mother of 
Isabella, was scarcely less opposed to the marriage than 
the old Due de Chatillon. Her first objections had 
been that Coligny was a Huguenot, and a younger son ; 
and when both these obstacles had been removed, she 
was so much insulted by the attitude of his relations, 
that she refused, on her side, to give any consent. 
" No daughter of the House of Montmorency ", she 
declared, " had ever married any man against the wishes 
of his family ". Coligny was banished, by parental 
authority, to Holland, on a pretext of military service ; 
and was thereby prevented from sharing in the Fribourg 
campaign. He writes lamentably to Enghien that he 
is undergoing ( the harshest penance in the world ' ; 
and after a few months his endurance failed altogether ; 
he returned to France, with or without permission. 
To have been cheated of a share in the glory of Fri- 
bourg was a terrible addition to his grievances ; he 
writes again, to assure ' Monseigneur et mon maistre ' 
that he would gladly have lost his life in the fight, 
simply for the pleasure of being present; and from 
all that is known of Coligny, there seems no reason 
to suppose that he was speaking other than the literal 
truth. M. le Due arrived at Chantilly, after his cam- 
paign, very much in love himself, and very ready to 
help his friend. It is asserted, chiefly on the authority 
of Mademoiselle de Rambouillet, that Isabelle de 
Montmorency had once been a possible rival to Marthe 
du Vigean, and that Enghien's eagerness to help on the 
marriage with Coligny was partly to prove his present 


devotion to Marthe. A rumour which might have 
been even more effectual, was that the families of du 
Vigean and Coligny were now negotiating a marriage 
between Marthe and Gaspard ; the suggestion " gave 
as much alarm to the Duke as he himself gave to the 
enemies of the State ". For the story of the actual 
elopement, Madame de Motteville's account may be 
closely followed. "The two lovers having done every- 
thing in their power to surmount the obstacles to 
their happiness, resolved at last to take the only course 
that remained to them ; one in which they were assured 
of the support of the Due d'Enghien, their protector 
and confidant ". Their plans were duly laid. Isabelle 
was staying in Paris at the house of her elder sister, 
the Duchesse de Valancay. As they were returning 
home one evening, the Duchess " was astonished to see 
an armed band at her door, who seized Mademoiselle 
de Boutteville and carried her away " to where 
Coligny was waiting, at a little distance, with a coach 
and six horses for their journey. Isabelle " pretended 
to cry out for help, so as to hide the consent she had 
given " ; some of Madame de Valancay 's servants 
tried to interfere, and the porter, or Suisse, was killed ; 
11 paying with his life for these lamentations, which 
were the least sad ever uttered ". The fugitives 
travelled all night ; once outside Paris, they left their 
carriage and made the rest of the journey on horse- 
back. They were married in public next morning 
at Chateaux-Thierry, 1 and Enghien provided them with 
a lodging on the borders of his own Champagne territory, 
at Stenay. Madame de Motteville gives no details of 
the marriage ceremony, but passes on to the scene 
witnessed by her in the Queen's apartments on the night 
of the elopement, which was, as she says, ' une plaisante 
comedie '. " The Queen was just retiring to bed when 
word was brought that Madame la Princesse was 
asking for an audience in one of her private rooms. 
She was a good deal surprised, for it was past 
midnight, and no time for such visits ; however, she 
gave orders for her admittance, and waited in some 
curiosity ". 

Madame la Princesse came before the Queen, who 
was in the act of arranging her hair for the night, and 

1 " J'ai precede ce matin au saint sacrement de mariage en presence de 
tout Chateau-Thierry ". Gaspard de Coligny to M. le Due., A.C., 1645. 


exclaimed in pathetic tones : " Madame, here is an un- 
happy woman " presenting Madame de Boutteville 
1 who is in great grief at the misfortune which has be- 
fallen her. She has come to ask for justice against 
the Comte de Chatillon, who has robbed her of her 

Madame de Boutteville flung herself at the Queen's 
feet ; she was all dishevelled, her lace and her clothes 
were torn. " She wept aloud, as though the Comte de 
Chatillon had been a highwayman, and had done her 
daughter every wrong " ; and dwelt, further, at great 
length on what Isabelle's horror would be at finding 
herself in the power of a man " whom she had never 
dared so much as to look at, without her mother's 
consent ", and " whom she would never be able to 
think of henceforward, except as a tyrant ". The 
Queen, naturally enough, found it hard to believe 
that two young people in their position, who met 
very often, and whose friendship was of many 
years' standing, had not been acting on a concerted 
plan. She gave some consoling answer to Madame de 
Boutteville, and then, drawing Madame la Princesse 
aside, said to her : " Ma cousine, I think I need be in 
no great hurry to punish the criminal. I do not sup- 
pose that Mademoiselle de Boutteville would thank 
us for interfering with her happiness, or that Madame 
de Boutteville would wish to see M. de Chatillon, 
except as her son-in-law ". The Princess, who had 
heard the truth, but who, herself a Montmorency, had 
not been able to refuse to bring her kinswoman before 
the Queen, turned her face to the wall to hide a laugh. 
11 For Heaven's sake, Madame ", she said, " do not 
make a ridiculous figure of me, before them all ! My 
wicked son managed the whole affair ; everyone is 
delighted ; and that poor woman's tears can only 
move me to laughter, though I would not make fun 
of her openly. They did their plotting without me, 
and now I have the trouble of it ". Thereupon both 
Queen and Princess did their best to comfort Madame 
de Boutteville without accusing her daughter. They 
had only partially succeeded when another petitioner 
arrived, still more distracted : the Comte de Brion, a 
cousin, and a fervent admirer of Isabelle. He accused 
Coligny no less vehemently, demanding that an armed 
force should be sent in pursuit ; and the Queen was 


obliged to tell him plainly, out of Madame de Boutte- 
ville's hearing, that she thought his cousin had no 
wish to be rescued. It was almost morning before the 
Queen's apartments could be cleared ; and meanwhile 
the culprits were far on their way, beyond reach of 
pursuit. In the end, as might have been expected, 
the parents gave way ; though not till after a fitting 
display of indignation. Their forgiveness was subject 
to certain conditions ; Coligny and his bride were 
forced to submit to a second marriage, since the first 
had taken place without parental consent, when the 
bridegroom was still under twenty-five ; x but before 
many months had passed, they were fully re-established 
in favour. The ballad-mongers of the Court and of 
the town did not neglect their opportunity, and ad- 
vised all lovers to follow Coligny 's example. ' II n'y 
a rien tel que d'enlever " w r as the refrain used by 
Sarrasin, one of the Chantilly poets. The romantic 
element, unfortunately, was short-lived ; Madame de 
Motteville says with justice, that " the scandal of the 
elopement was a fit prelude to the unhapp.iness of the 
marriage ". Still, whatever its drawbacks, Madame 
de Chatillon could scarcely have arranged a more 
appropriate opening to her eventful career. 

Long before this disturbance, the brief tranquillity 
of the Court had been rudely shaken.' The truce 
between the Houses of Orleans and Conde lasted, at 
most, three or four weeks, and was followed by a violent 
quarrel, in which M. le Due and Mademoiselle de Mont- 
pensier took the leading parts. ' La Grande Made- 
moiselle ', first Enghien's enemy, and later one of the 
staunchest of his allies, was now seventeen years old ; 
and for nearly as many years had been firmly convinced 
of her own importance. It need scarcely be said that 
the question at issue was a point of precedence. The 
occasion was a Requiem Mass, sung in Notre-Dame for 
the Queen of Spain (Isabella of France) and attended 
in state by Princes and Princesses of the Blood ; when 
Enghien, by appointing two pages, instead of one, to 
carry his wife's train, tacitly claimed equality with 

1 " Je crois que vous seris bien ayse d'aprandre que le mariage de M. 
de Coligny a ete confirme avec toutes les formalites neseseres ; M. Vostre 
pere a bien voulu siner au contrat, nous y avons tous sine ; j'ay ausi ete 
au mariage qui a ete feet dans 1'archeveche, par M. 1'archeveque de Paris ". 
Madame la Princesse to M. le Due, A.C., June 19, 1645. 


Mademoiselle, granddaughter of a King. Mademoiselle 
wept with indignation ; but the Queen, from whom 
she eagerly sought redress, lost patience, and rebuked 
her sharply for her want of self-control. The Princess, 
in her writings, makes no more secret of her early 
dislike to M. le Due than of her subsequent admiration 
for him. He had impeached her Royal prerogatives in 
public, and she more than suspected him of laughing 
at her in private. Her aversion, she says, was so 
powerful, that she took no pleasure in any victory 
gained by him ; and when a rumour was circulated of 
his having been wounded, she " heard the news with 
joy, and hoped that he might be disfigured". This 
frankness of speech extended to all her dealings ; it 
was as natural to ' la Grande Mademoiselle ' as it would 
have been impossible to most of her family. Her mind 
was not subtle ; she could never have discussed ' the 
delicacy of the emotions ' with any acuteness ; but her 
staunchness, her honesty, and a certain practical shrewd- 
ness were soon to make her a valuable political ally. 
She was a favourite with the people of Paris, and her 
popularity among them proved another useful asset ; 
they admired her high spirits and her unmistakable 
Bourbon cast of countenance : 

" Cette grande et haute pucelle, 
Que Ton nomme Mademoiselle ; 

Dont en tout temps le coeur est gai 
Comme Ton est au mois de Mai ".* 

For the present, Mademoiselle gave little thought to 
politics ; she loved dancing and amusements, and 
hoped, more or less vaguely, some day to marry a 
King. She attempted, loyally, the impossible task of 
respecting her father, and as a rule his enemies were 
hers ; but it was for strictly personal reasons that she 
hated the whole House of Conde in general, and M. le 
Due in particular. No doubt she was partly consoled 
for her injuries when Enghien, not long after the cere- 
mony of the Requiem, put himself thoroughly in the 
wrong by causing a great commotion at the Palais 
du Luxembourg, where Monsieur was giving a dramatic 
entertainment, followed by a ball. While the dessert 
and ' confitures ' were being handed to the ladies, a 
seneschal, or ' exempt ', who was directing the pro- 

1 Loret, La Mu.e Historique. 


ceedings, passed so near M. le Due as to catch the wand 
of office in his hair. Perhaps the accident was not easy 
to avoid ; for the Duke's hair, as his portraits bear 
witness, stood out from his head, thick, curling, and 
unmanageable. Be that as it might, for a servant to 
touch it carelessly was an impertinence not to be borne. 
Enghien seized the wand, broke it in two, and beat the 
seneschal with the pieces. That a Prince should chastise 
his own, or other people's, servants, even in public, 
was nothing unusual ; but that he should do so in the 
presence of a greater Prince, a ' son of France ', was a 
grave breach of etiquette. Enghien was judiciously 
persuaded into apologising ; and next day, Mazarin 
and the Due de Longueville conducted him to the 
Luxembourg Palace, where Monsieur received his 
excuses, and his assurance that ' he had acted without 
thinking'. Gaston d 'Orleans was of a more placable 
disposition than his daughter ; not from any moral 
superiority, but simply because, Bourbon though he was, 
his nature was too indolent to allow him even to stand on 
his dignity, unless the idea was first suggested to him. 
Mademoiselle, on the other hand, felt something, at 
least, of the greatness of her position, and tried honestly, 
according to her lights, to live up to it. 

As the spring advanced it became gradually evident 
that, in the coming season, Enghien was destined to 
make another German campaign. The ' army of the 
Rhine ' had passed a trying winter. " The enemy have 
given us a bad three months ", Turenne writes from 
Kreuznach on December 27th. The Imperial forces 
had recovered their strength. Mercy and the Duke of 
Lorraine were harassing him, and his own troops, the 
Weimarians, were growing discontented ; not without 
reason, in their General's opinion. " I must own", he 
says, " that there are no troops but these .who would 
have maintained themselves for so long without receiving 
a single halfpenny of their pay ". Monsieur, encouraged 
by success, was again preparing to command the forces 
in Flanders. Enghien was to resume his post with the 
' army of Champagne ' ; and as early as March, 1645, ne 
made a brief expedition into his territory to investigate 
the state of his own forces. Finding their numbers 
very deficient, he returned as soon as possible to Paris, 
and, during the next six weeks, did all that he could 
to persuade Mazarin into allowing him reinforcements. 


The Cardinal made many promises ; and with them, 
Enghien was forced, for some months, to be content. 

These last weeks in Paris were full of excitement for 
the Chantilly clique, and indeed for all the Court. 
Besides the Coligny elopement now almost forgiven 
there were other marriages scarcely less interesting and 
unexpected. Henri de Chabot, one of three brothers, 1 
all well known to M. le Due, had fallen in love with 
Marguerite de Rohan, Duchesse de Rohan in her own 
right, and the greatest heiress of the day. Enghien 's 
assistance had once more to be asked, for Chabot, from 
a mercenary point of view, was by no means a brilliant 
match ; though his friends predicted that he was not 
likely to want advancement. He was a highly-gifted 
courtier, full of tact and intelligence ; and had served 
the Duke as a confidant throughout the episode of 
Marthe du Vigean. Coligny 's methods would have been 
out of the question in this case ; Marguerite de Rohan 
had an unequalled reputation for pride and virtue. 
She was reported to have refused her hand to no fewer 
than four Princes ; of whom one was Rupert, Prince 
Palatine, and another, Bernard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. 
Enghien interviewed, in turn, the Queen, Mazarin, and 
the Dowager Duchesse de Rohan ; the last-named a 
most strenuous opponent of the marriage ; 2 and he 
prevailed on the Queen to grant a ducal patent to Chabot, 

lving him leave to share the title of his future wife, 
he elder Madame de Rohan, in desperation, laid a 
scheme for transporting her daughter out of reach. 
She came one evening to fetch her from the house of 
the Duchesse de Sully, intending to drive off with her 
into the country ; but she was checkmated by M. le 
Due, who, after saying openly that he knew of her 
designs, and turning the whole matter into a joke, got 
into the carriage with the two ladies, and insisted on 
seeing them home. Finally, Madame de Sully and her 
husband were persuaded to take the young Duchess 
with them to their own castle on the Loire, where the 
marriage took place ; privately, but with a sufficient 
number of witnesses, of whom, however, the Dowager 

1 Charles de Chabot, Seigneur de Sainte Aulaye, killed at Lerida, 1646. 
Henri de Chabot, afterwards Due de Rohan, died 1655. Guy-Aldonce de 
Chabot, killed at Dunkirk, 1646. 

2 " Mrne de Rohan continue a dire tant de sotises sur le mariage de sa 
fille, que Mme de Rambouillet et moy la pansames quereler avant-hier ". 
Madame la Princesse to M. le Due, A.C., June, 1645.1 


Duchess was not one. M. le Due's fame as a match- 
maker had spread far and wide ; in spite of an occasional 
failure, as in the case of Mademoiselle de Salnove. That 
his help was often invoked, and seldom in vain, may be 
inferred from a letter among the Chantilly archives, 
signed ' Louise de Beon ' ; l in which the writer thanks 
him effusively for his good offices, adding : 

" You are not content with the great names you 
have inherited, nor with those you have acquired by 
your victories ; you must also be called the protector 
of faithful lovers ". 

Louise de Beon, better known -as Madame de Brienne, 
is mentioned by Mademoiselle de Montpensier as famed 
for the strictness of her religious views. Nevertheless, 
she writes familiarly of no less celebrated a person 
than Ninon de Lenclos, and challenges the Duke, 
since nothing is beyond his powers, to arrange a marriage 
for her : 

11 I will come to her wedding if you will please to 
find her a husband ". 2 

Enghien's own love-affair meanwhile was nearing 
a crisis of a different nature. Before his second de- 
parture from Paris, in May, he was forced to realise 
that the existing state of affairs with regard to Marthe 
du Vigean was one which could not be prolonged. The 
climax was hastened by the action of Henri de Bourbon ; 
who now, for the first time, became aware that his son 
had long been dwelling on the actual prospect of a 
* demariage ', and still refused to be convinced of the 
impracticability of the scheme. How the Prince gained 
his information is not certain ; it may only have 
reached him through the gossip of the Court. On the 
other hand, one or two writers assert that Madame de 
Longueville, hitherto the firm ally of her brother and 
her friend, was either smitten by conscience, or grew 
jealous of Marthe 's influence ; that she told her father 
of Enghien's hopes and intentions ; and that a quarrel, 
the first between the brother and sister, was the result. 
Henri de Bourbon was no sooner assured of his facts, 
by whatever means, than he made ' un eclat epouvant- 

1 Wife of Henri de Lonienie, Comte du Brienne, Minister for Foreign 
Z *A.C. 


able ' ; and succeeded, at length, in impressing upon 
Enghien the fact that escape, by the way he had sought, 
was entirely and for ever out of the question. Nothing 
but the death of his wife could release him ; his wife, 
whom he saw as seldom as possible, whose family dis- 
patched her to a convent while her husband was at 
the wars, and who, thanks to her submissiveness and 
innocence, seems to have been all unconscious of the 
attempt against her rights. Enghien faced the situa- 
tion exactly as might have been expected ; guided, 
as he was, by a nervous and excitable, but rather cold- 
blooded, temperament. He reflected deliberately that 
Madame la Duchesse, at seventeen, was not in the least 
likely to die ; she had been seriously ill for a short 
time during the winter of 164344, but she had now 
quite recovered her health. Marthe, as he well knew, 
would not change her views. He was too deeply in 
love to be satisfied with her friendship ; therefore, as it 
seemed to him, the only alternative was to break with 
her altogether, without delay, and without explana- 
tion. Either of these measures, he decided, might 
only complicate his position still further. The course 
he followed was unfeeling towards Marthe, logical as 
it may have appeared to himself ; but Enghien 's 
emotions were apt to be at least as much an affair of 
the nerves as of the heart. When he went, for the last 
time, to take leave of her, before setting out on the 
campaign, it is credibly reported that he came away 
half-fainting ; yet after five months absence he could 
return, to all outward seeming, as indifferent as though 
he had never heard her name. He cannot fairly be 
said to have acted on moral grounds ; his conduct 
towards his wife was unchanged in all essentials ; only 
he was resolved that, since nothing but dissatisfaction 
could come of his relations with Marthe, the episode 
should be considered as closed. 

Marthe, under this severe ordeal, acquitted herself 
with courage and dignity. Her part in history was 
ended, but the few events of her after-life deserve to be 
told, if only in justice to the heroine chosen by Enghien 
for his early romance. Had she been influenced merely 
by pique, or by ambition, she might easily have found 
consolation in some more prosperous love-affair. M. 
le Due's attentions and jealousies, during the past few 
years, had been, to a certain extent, compromising; 


even though Mademoiselle du Vigean was generally 
held to be above suspicion ; still, once it was recognised 
that he had withdrawn his claim, other suitors were 
ready enough to come forward. One at least of these, 
the Marquis de Saint-Maigrin, an admirer of some years' 
standing, had even gone to the length of embarking 
on marriage negotiations with her family. Mart he 
listened to no proposals ; she had done with all such 
matters. She did not hide at once from the world, 
but her resolve had been taken. Less than two years 
later she entered on her novitiate at the Carmelite 
convent of the Rue Saint- Jaques. Her story may be 
traced, in some detail, by the help of two letters ; one 
written by her sister Anne, now Madame de Pons, to 
her brother, the Marquis de Fors ; the other by Henri 
de Chabot to M. le Due. This last, incidentally, con- 
tains evidence that Enghien, in spite of the change 
in his feelings, still followed her movements with 

Chabot, or rather the Due de Rohan, writes from 
Paris in June, 1646, that he has just been wishing 
Mademoiselle du Vigean farewell : " Not ", he says, 
" without arguments on my part, or tears on hers. 
We talked for three hours of all that had happened in 
the past, and of her resolutions for the future, which 
tend towards a complete retirement, as soon as time 
enough has passed for her reputation not to suffer, 
and for no one to attribute it directly to grief or anger. 
I assured her she would do nothing of the kind, and 
I cannot believe it. She told me how, after hearing 
one of Pere Desmare's sermons, and after a great 
struggle with herself, she burnt all your letters and 
even your portrait. I had great pleasure in her con- 
versation ; she has infinite wit and intelligence ; but, if 
I may say so without offence, her beauty is strangely 
altered ".* 

Madame de Pons' letter to her brother is dated a 
year later, and shows that Marthe had other opposition 
and incredulity to encounter besides that of the Duke 
de Rohan, and was finally driven to desperate measures. 
" You must know that my sister had kept up all the 
strictness you observed in her devotions, and had even 
increased it ; so that we all suspected her of wishing 
to take the veil. Madame d'Aiguillon spoke to her of 

1 A.C., June, 1646. 

1 645] SGEUR MARTHE DE jSUS 129 

it, and asked if she had any such intentions. She 
answered, yes, and that there was no cause for sur- 
prise, as she had first told her of it two years 
ago"; that is to say, in June, 1645, almost im- 
mediately after Enghien's last interview. Madame 
d'Aiguillon begged her to wait another year, in the hope 
of reconciling her mother, the Baronne du Vigean, to 
the prospect. 

Madame du Vigean was indeed the last person who 
could be expected to sympathise with aspirations to 
the religious life ; she was an ambitious, self-seeking 
woman, who had flattered and persuaded Madame 
d'Aiguillon into giving her a footing at Court, and had 
been helped to maintain it by her daughters' social 
success. A meeting of friends and relations was con- 
vened ; " they talked all day", says Madame de Pons, 
who assisted, " and many tears were shed " ; till at 
last, a delay of six months was agreed upon. Marthe 
gave her consent, at the time ; but a few days 
later she warned her sister that she must retract her 
promise : " Ma sceur, I shall go before a week is out ". 
Madame de Pons argued in vain. Marthe seized an 
opportunity when Madame de Longueville, who still 
kept up their friendship, had sent for her. Half-way 
to the Hotel de Longueville she told the servants 
who were with the carriage that they must take her 
to the ' Grandes Carmelites'. "There she is now", 
concludes her sister indignantly ; " and there 
she has every intention of staying". "I go each 
day to see her; she is perfectly cheerful and deter- 
mined, and sees me weep, without shedding a tear 
herself ". 

' Mademoiselle du Vigean ' had ceased to exist ; 
as soon as her novitiate was completed, Marthe signed 
herself according to the convention of her Order : ' Sceur 
Marthe de Jesus, religieuse Carmelite indigne '. Sceur 
Marthe is mentioned several times in the records of the 
convent where her vows were made ; her election to 
the office of sub-prioress is noted in 1656, and her death 
in 1665. By this name also she subscribes herself in 
the few letters which have been preserved, addressed 
to her by her intimate friend, Madame de Sable. Madame 
de Pons was not the only person who wept for Marthe ; 
her loss was regretted, even in that careless age. 
* Les Jeux et T Amour ' themselves mourned for her 


with a kind of chastened frivolity, " to the tune of 
' Laire Ian lere '": 

"Lorsque Vigean quitta la cour, 
Les Jeux, les Graces, les Amours 
Entrerent dans le monastere. 
Laire la laire Ian lere 
Laire la laire Ian la. 
Les Jeux pleurerent ce jour-la 
Ce jour la Beaute se voila, 
Et fit vceu d'etre solitaire ". 

Enghien was no idyllic lover ; the restraining 
influences of his boyhood had not been proof against 
the combined forces of example and hereditary instinct. 
It was probably through no scruple of his that Marthe 
du Vigean 's principles were not overcome. But it is 
worth recalling that the love of his early life was at 
least disinterested, and that it was offered to one whom 
he could respect as well as love. His romance ended, 
he turned for the moment to another passion, scarcely 
less absorbing. Again the jealous appeal of the ' Science 
of Warfare' seems to sound: "Louis, c'est a moi 
seul que tu te dois rendre ; Les autres ne font rien que 
brouiller les esprits". There can have been no truer 
prophet, in his time, than the unknown author of the 
Masque of Dijon. 




ON May 5th, 1645, tne ' army of the Rhine ' was taken 
unawares by Mercy, and defeated at the battle of Marien- 
thal. 1 Turenne made no attempt to palliate this mis- 
fortune, which was perhaps the most severe reverse 
he ever experienced ; but with characteristic determina- 
tion he set to work to repair it. Many years after- 
wards, he was asked by some inquisitive acquaintance 
how the defeat had been brought about : " Par ma 
faute, Monsieur", was the laconic answer. Turenne's 
letter to Enghien, dated May loth, is more explicit, and 
declares that, " if the infantry had held their post half 
an hour longer, the day might have been saved ". He 
speaks first of his own feelings, as one sure of sympathy, 
and conscious of other enemies besides those of his 
country: " As I have the honour to be well known to 
Your Highness, you will be able to judge of my grief; 
I am sending you an account of what took place ; but 
that I am assured of your honouring me with your 
affection, I would not spend my time in explaining this 
event, which will cause only joy, to many people". 2 
Turenne had retreated, not towards the frontier, but 
into the friendly territory of Hesse-Cassel. Here he 
found a valuable ally in ' Madame la Landgrave ', the 
widowed Regent of the province, who on behalf of 
her son, the young Landgrave, had contracted to 
furnish and maintain a force of ten thousand men for 
the French service, in return for an annual pay- 
ment of ( 200,000 rixthalers '. Six thousand of these 
Hessians were a welcome addition to the dimin- 

1 Also known as the battle of Mergentheim, from the village near which 
it was fought. 

*A.C., May 10, 1645. 



ished numbers of the Weimarians. Another, smaller, 
reinforcement was supplied by the Swedish General 
Torstenson, by whose orders four thousand men 
from the allied forces in Bohemia were dis- 
patched westwards under Count Konigsmarck. Thus 
strengthened, the ' army of the Rhine ' recrossed 
the frontier of Hesse towards the end of June, to 
effect a junction with M. le Due and the ' army of 
Champagne '. 

Enghien, as on a former occasion, marched from 
Verdun by Metz and Saverne ; he crossed the Rhine 
at Spires, and joined Turenne at Ladenburg, near 
Mannheim, on July 2nd. The component parts of the 
united army had been little altered since the preceding 
year, save that the Hessian and Swedish troops re- 
placed the losses of Fribourg and Marienthal. Enghien, 
in his report of the forces he had found at Verdun, 
pronounces the cavalry " better than he has ever seen 
it ". On the other hand, the infantry is ' pitiable ', 
and in great disorder ; he has had to reconstitute 
nearly thirty companies, and to cashier their officers, 
hoping that those who are left may profit by this ex- 
ample. When these stringent measures had been 
carried out there remained an efficient force of twelve 
thousand horse and foot. Among the infantry may 
be noted the regiment of Irish mercenaries, known as 
' Wall-Irlandais ', from the name of the commanding 
officer, Robert Wall. 1 M. le Due was again seconded 
by Guiche, now Due de Gramont. The ' petits-maitres ' 
were well to the fore ; Tavannes, La Moussaye, and 
Guy-Aldonce de Chabot, all newly promoted, were 
serving as ' marechaux de camp '. So also were 
Marchin, or Marsin, the Flemish soldier of fortune 
whose career was for many years to be closely allied to 
that of Enghien ; and Arnauld, called ' le Carabin ', of 
the famous race of Jansenists. Cesar de Chastellux, 
and Jacques de Castelnau, each recommended by the 
Duke for their services at Fribourg, held, respectively, 
the posts of ' marechal de bataille ' and ' sergent de 
bataille '. Espenan had been disposed of at the close 
of the Fribourg campaign, by a happy inspiration 
which caused M. le Due to have him appointed Gover- 

1 Ramsay describes Robert Wall as being ' of a very noble and ancient 
Irish family ' ; adding that he was ' maternal great-uncle to Abbot Butler 
of Kilcopp '. 


nor of Philippsbourg, thus removing him temporarily, 
without disgrace, from active service. 

The main object of the present campaign, in accord- 
ance with Mazarin's instructions, was to establish the 
French securely in Wurtemberg and Bavaria ; and, 
with this end in view, to secure such fortified towns 
as would serve to keep open the lines of communica- 
tion between different points of the Empire. The 
greatest success that could be achieved would be to 
penetrate eastwards far enough to join forces with 
Torstenson, 1 the General commanding the allied forces 
in Hungary and Bohemia. Enghien marched east 
and south from Ladenburg along the valley of the 
Neckar, and seized Wimpfen ; then, turning almost 
due east, laid siege to Rothenburg, 2 which surrendered 
after only a few days' resistance. The only serious 
opposition that M. le Due encountered on his route 
was from one of his own subordinates. Konigsmarck, 
the Swedish Commander, a man ' well used to wars ' 
but " vain-glorious and self-centred, and anxious that 
everything should depend on him alone ", 3 aimed at 
greater liberty of action, and did not find Enghien a 
superior officer to his liking. From the first, relations 
were strained between them ; and before the troops 
had reached Rothenburg, Konigsmarck made a final 
assertion of independence, almost ludicrous in its 
abrupt completeness. The humorous side was not alto- 
gether lost on Enghien or on Gramont, in spite of their 
indignation, when " one fine morning there came an 
envoy, looking more like a scullion than a gentleman, 
and saying that he was sent by his Excellency Count 
Konigsmarck to carry a farewell to His Highness ", 4 
as he proposed withdrawing immediately, with his forces. 
Enghien was not inclined to waste words in remon- 
strance ; his army was no place for an officer who could 
not obey orders. He sent back word that he was willing 
to accept Count Konigsmarck J s resignation, and wished 
him a pleasant journey ; adding, by way of revenge, 
one or two other messages less fitted for translation. 
Konigsmarck departed, and the armies of France 
knew him no more. His withdrawal reduced Enghien 's 
forces from twenty-eight to twenty-four thousand 

1 Count Torstenson, the favourite General of Gustavus Adolphus. 

2 Rothenburg-on-the-Tauber. 3 Turenne, Memoires. 
* Mtmoires du Mar^chal-Duc de Gramont. 



[CHAP, vii 

men ; but even so, Mercy's twenty thousand were still 
outnumbered, and the French plan of campaign under- 
went no change. 

Mercy, with his usual clearsightedness, expended 
neither time nor strength in the defence of smaller 
places, but devoted all his energies to barring the way to 
Munich. From Miltenburg, on the Main, he followed a 
route by Hall and Feuchtwangen, skilfully keeping his 
enemy under observation, but attempting no engage- 

ment. The French troops marched southwards from 
Rothenburg towards Nordlingen, 1 a small fortified town 
close to the Bavarian frontier. East of the town 
stretches an open plain, intersected by the Eger and 
Wornitz rivers. Enghien's intention was, if possible, 
to reduce Nordlingen without delay ; or, failing that, 
to take up a position in the plain and prepare for a 

1 The German name is retained, in this case, as French versions vary 
considerably; Norlingue, Nordlingue, and Nortlingen are used indifferently. 


general action before Mercy could come up. Mercy, 
however, was not so easily to be outstripped. His 
forces had drawn level with the French army on August 
ist, fifteen or twenty miles from Nordlingen. Enghien 
halted at Dinkelsbiihl, and Mercy barely three miles 
away, at Sinnbronn. Both armies marched under 
cover of night, on August 2nd ; their movements hidden 
from each other by the forest of Oettengen, which 
lies between Dinkelsbiihl and Nordlingen. Enghien 's 
troops had reached the plain between ten and eleven 
o'clock on the morning of the 3rd ; but Mercy was 
beforehand with them. As the French Generals were 
breakfasting, after the march, word was brought that 
the enemy was not only in the plain, but less than 
two miles away ; and that Mercy was fortifying a 
position round the village of Allerheim. At first the 
news seemed hardly credible ; Enghien laughed, and 
said that General Mercy, if he were really so near, 
was too clever not to have put the river Wornitz be- 
tween them: "Ma foi, Monseigneur ", answered the 
messenger bluntly, " Your Highness may believe what 
you like ; but if you will give yourself the trouble to 
come with me to a point five hundred paces from here, 
I can show you that I am neither blind nor a coward ; 
and that there is nothing between you and Mercy's 
army but a plain as bare as my hand ". Enghien 
waited to hear no more ; he mounted and set out, with 
Turenne and Gramont, to observe the enemy from the 
point indicated. It was, indeed, as the messenger had 
said ; Mercy had chosen his position, and his troops 
were forming for action. The village, standing on raised 
ground, was occupied by the Bavarian infantry, which 
formed the enemy's centre ; to the right, the position ex- 
tended to the Wenneberg, a solitary hill rising abruptly 
from the plain ; the left was flanked by the Castle of 
Allerheim, 1 a short half-mile from the village. The whole 
position was encircled on three sides by the rivers of the 
plain ; the front only was left open to attack, Already 
the parish church of Allerheim, a solid stone building 
surrounded by a walled churchyard, had been pro- 
fanely occupied as a redoubt, and every available house 
was being fortified. There was no time for deliberation ; 

1 German historians give the name of Allerheim to this battle ; and that 
of Nordlingen to the defeat of the Swedish army by the Imperialists, on 
September 6, 1634. 


Enghien and his Marshals knew only too well what 
defences Mercy was capable of raising in the course of 
a few hours. Gramont, with Arnauld to second him, 
was ordered to take command of the French cavalry 
on the right, opposing Jean de Wirth, an enemy of long 
standing, who with the Bavarian cavalry was posted 
between the village and the castle. Gramont had at 
his disposal ten cavalry squadrons, and to these were 
added two infantry battalions, ' Fabert ' and ' Wall- 
Irlandais '. Chabot was to support him with six reserve 
squadrons and four battalions of infantry. On the 
French left, Turenne, with the cavalry of Weimar, 
confronted the Austrian General, Count von Gleen, 
and seventeen squadrons of the far-famed Imperial 
horsemen ; in the rear of the Weimarians, the Hessian 
forces were stationed, under their own General, Count 
Geiso. The enemy's infantry served to occupy the 
village. Six battalions held the church, the churchyard, 
and the surrounding houses ; seven more were ready to 
support them on the farther side of the village, from 
which post Mercy in person was organising the defence. 
The French centre was composed of the artillery, 
twenty-seven guns, and ten infantry battalions, 
French, German, and Flemish. Marsin was in command, 
seconded by Bellenave, one of Turenne's officers ; and 
with them was Enghien, prepared to begin operations 
by directing an attack on Allerheim itself. 

Turenne has explained, briefly, the reasoning on 
which this plan of action was founded. ." The situation 
of the village ", he says, " being slightly in advance of 
the enemy's line, caused some doubts as to whether we 
should attack immediately at that point, or first engage 
the wings, employing the cavalry alone ". It was 
decided, however, that the advance to a frontal attack, 
under the fire of the village garrison, would be too reckless 
an exposure of the French and Weimarian cavalry ; 
and the course of the two rivers, flowing by the Wenne- 
berg on one side, and by the castle on the other, left no 
space in which to turn the position. Allerheim must 
first be attacked ; orders were given for the two wings 
to halt, while the infantry went forward to seize the 
outlying houses. 

Marsin, with his Flemish countrymen, made the 
first advance. They met with little resistance till they 
reached the churchyard ; then, from its walls, a furious 

1 645] DEATH OF MERCY 137 

volley drove them back in disorder. Enghien and La 
Moussaye brought up the remaining battalions, and the 
fighting grew desperate. Mercy's improvised redoubt 
was none the less effective for its sacrilegious character. 
The French set fire to some of the houses ; others they 
seized, and made use of, as best they could ; but still 
the church seemed impregnable, and one attempt after 
another was repulsed. Mercy, from his coign of van- 
tage on the outskirts of the village, surveyed the fight ; 
giving all directions, but taking no active part. As the 
hours wore on, he watched, with growing satisfaction, 
the vain onslaughts of the French battalions, mar- 
velling all the while at their persistence, in the face 
of great losses. When, towards evening, he saw 
Enghien, in the thickest of the fight, encouraging his 
men to a final effort, he thanked God aloud that these 
Frenchmen had lost their wits, and that his victory was 
assured. Chastellux and Bellenave had fallen; Marsin, 
Castelnau, and La Moussaye were disabled. The Duke's 
horse was struck, and fell with him, nearly crushing 
him, so that he was bruised from head to foot ; he was 
also wounded in the arm by a pistol shot. The whole 
of the French centre was now engaged ; while of the 
Bavarian reserve, four battalions were still stationed, 
fresh and intact, beyond Allerheim. Mercy ordered 
these up to meet the last and most determined attack ; 
he was advancing with them, and had barely come within 
range of fire, when a shot struck him and he fell dead. 
His soldiers, who had almost worshipped him, were 
seized with the courage of despair ; they charged into 
the village with such fury that the French, resisting 
fiercely, were driven out on to the plain. But the 
Bavarians, having won this momentary triumph, were 
too completely demoralised by their loss to follow it up. 
No leader could take Mercy's place ; the troops halted, 
irresolute and in disorder, in and around Allerheim. The 
fight was stayed; Enghien, battered and exhausted, 
but with spirit still undefeated, at last had leisure to 
look round him, and to take note of what was passing 
in other parts of the field. 

It was no encouraging sight that met his eyes. The 
cavalry, on both wings, had advanced into action, 
according to orders, as soon as the force occupying 
Allerheim was fairly engaged. Looking towards the 
right, Gramont's troops, and even Chabot's reserve, 


were revealed in hopeless confusion, scattered and 
hotly pursued by Jean de Wirth. On the left, the 
Weimarian squadrons were maintaining an equal combat 
with Gleen's cavalry, and here, if anywhere, lay a hope 
of averting total disaster. Enghien lost no time in 
joining Turenne, and they conferred hastily together. 
Turenne asked that Geiso should be ordered to bring 
up the Hessians of the second line, and that M. le Due 
should support him with them while he undertook the 
first charge. Gleen's defeat must be secured ; then, 
with the Imperial squadons dispersed, there might 
still be a chance of encountering Jean de Wirth on his 
return from the pursuit, and engaging him separately. 
Nothing could be more characteristic of the two Marshals 
than the account subsequently given by each of his 
own share in the action. Gramont's narrative, pictur- 
esque and vivid, describes with perfect complacency 
his defeat and capture. Turenne, in plain, unvarnished 
terms, tells almost shamefacedly of his success, making 
no comment, of praise or blame, on any officer, save only 
that M. le Due, in leading the charge of the second line, 
" acted with equal courage and good judgment ". The 
enemy's artillery was posted on the slope of the Wenne- 
berg, and the attacking forces advanced successively 
under its fire. Turenne was hit, but escaped with a 
slight wound ; the Duke's second horse was killed under 
him. Gleen's cavalry, a magnificent array, whose 
first line was formed by the ' Imperial Cuirassiers ', 
withstood Turenne 's charge effectually. The Weimar- 
ians were beaten back, though without losing ground 
to any great extent ; at one or two points they 
even gained a slight advantage; but numbers were 
against them. Then the Hessians dashed forward, 
with Enghien at their head; Turenne 's squadrons 
rallied ; together they charged the Imperial forces 
and broke their line. Almost in an instant the 
fortunes of the day had changed, and the rout of the 
Austrian cavalry was as complete as that of Gramont 
had been. Gleen was taken prisoner, and the guns 
on the hillside were seized. This much accomplished, 
the French Generals drew off from the Wenneberg, 
turning short to the right, and prepared to surround 
Allerheim, where a few battalions of the Bavarian 
infantry still held their ground. 

Close on six hours had passed in the heat of action, 


and darkness was falling. Notwithstanding Gleen's 
defeat and Mercy's death, the victory might still have 
hung in the balance if Jean de Wirth had been prompt 
enough to attack the Hessian cavalry in flank, before 
the squadrons had re-formed after the charge. But 
the Dutch mercenary was, at heart, less a General than 
a soldier of fortune. His pursuit had carried him 
two leagues across the plain, to where the baggage 
had been left that morning, when the French army 
made ready in haste for action. The occasion was 
irresistible ; the Bavarians fell on the spoil, in spite 
of some resistance from the men of the ' Margrave ; 
regiment who had been left to guard the camp. The 
fighting and plundering continued till sunset ; then, 
instead of bearing to the left, or making any attempt 
to discover how Gleen had fared, Wirth and his horse- 
men retraced their steps in a direct line ; slowly, for 
their horses were tired with the day's work, and some 
of them heavily laden with spoils of war. It was 
night before they came near Allerheim ; the last 
defenders of the church and churchyard, finding 
themselves completely surrounded and apparently 
without hope of relief, had laid down their arms and 
marched out of the village as prisoners ; while their 
own cavalry, unseen in the darkness, was actually only 
a few hundred yards away. Wirth, hearing from a 
few stragglers how the day had gone, made no efforts 
to draw nearer, and ordered a retreat towards Donau- 
worth, on the banks of the Danube, fifteen miles away. 
The artillery, with the exception of four light guns, 
he was forced to abandon. Three thousand of Mercy's 
army lay dead on the field, and nearly two thousand 
were left prisoners. Wirth drew off his troops under 
cover of night, and was out of sight by the morning. 
The armies of France and Weimar were in no condition 
to undertake a vigorous pursuit ; the loss of life had 
been no less heavy on their side, 1 and they were content 
with the certainty that the enemy had crossed the 
Danube in full retreat. 

Turenne's part in the victory of Nordlingen was 

1 Jean de Wirth, in writing to Count Hatzfeldt (Kriegs-archiv, Vienna), 
estimates the French losses at five thousand ; but this is manifestly an 
exaggeration. The correct estimate seems to be rather over three thousand ; 
Turenne, unflinchingly truthful, writes : " I think the losses of the King's (i.e. 
the French) army were greater than those of the enemy ". He gives ' between 
three and four thousand ' as the total. 


the atonement he offered for the defeat of Marienthal. 
Enghien made no secret of all that he owed to his 
subordinate. The dispatch written by a secretary, 
and sent to Le Tellier on August 7, bears a postscript 
in the Duke's own hand : " Our German troops must 
positively be given what they ask. It was they who 
won the battle, and M. de Turenne performed pro- 
digies ". To Mazarin he wrote, still more emphatically, 
that " but for the marvellous courage and efficiency of 
M. de Turenne, the battle must have been lost ". 
Mazarin reports this compliment in a letter to Turenne ; 
declaring himself, with what truth may be conjectured, 
to have been affected to tears by M. le Due's generosity. 
Turenne records a public acknowledgment as well ; 
not in his memoirs, there no such gratifications find 
a place, but in a private letter to his family : " I think 
everyone in Paris will have to believe that this victory 
was owing to the German cavalry alone. M. le Due paid 
me more compliments than I can tell you, before the whole 
army. It is impossible to do justice to his personal share 
in the action, or to the effect of his courage ". It is also 
impossible, Turenne continues, to believe how well he 
and M. le Due agree together : " I beg that you will 
express to Madame la Princesse, and to Madame de 
Longueville, how much obliged I am to him in this ". 

The French losses had fallen most heavily on the 
infantry round Allerheim. Turenne, who was not 
given to over-stating facts, declares that the whole 
force of infantry left to them amounted to not more 
than twelve or fifteen hundred men ; the ten battalions 
engaged in the attack on the village had been almost 
wiped out. The right wing suffered least, having 
offered least resistance. Gramont ascribes his own 
defeat to a fault in Arnauld's reconnaissance. The 
French squadrons, drawn up for action, looked straight 
before them across a tract of ground crossed by many 
small streams, marshy and untrustworthy in places, 
but not necessarily impassable. Wirth and his forces 
were still invisible, being concealed by a depression 
in the ground, stretching from the village to the castle 
of Allerheim. Arnauld's report was that the marsh 
was impracticable, save for a narrow road passing 
near the castle. Gramont accepted this statement, 
perhaps too readily, without attempting to verify it ; 
his troops were ordered to bear to the right, and to 


alter their formation so as to follow the road. Wirth's 
cavalry, charging out of their shelter, crossed the 
ground pronounced impracticable by Arnauld, and 
attacked in flank, carrying all before them. Gramont 
could not check the rout ; but he placed himself at 
the head of ' Fabert ' and ' Wall-Irlandais ', who stood 
their ground after the cavalry were in flight. The 
Bavarians were almost upon them, when these two 
battalions fired so furious a volley that they opened 
a breach in the enemy's ranks. Into this breach 
Gramont flung himself, with a handful of men, hoping 
to rally the rest ; and, as a natural result, found himself 
immediately surrounded, and a prisoner. The dangers 
of the day were by no means over for him, even after 
his surrender. He was brought at once into the 
Bavarian camp by one Sponheim, the officer to whom 
he had given up his sword ; the news of Mercy's death 
had not yet reached the camp, and Sponheim believed 
himself to be bringing his prisoner to the General. 
Gramont tells how, among Mercy's personal followers, 
was ' un petit page Lorrain ', a boy of fifteen, who 
heard that the French General had been taken, and 
determined to avenge his master's death. Gramont 
was riding a led horse, with the rein lying loose ; as 
he passed, the boy, unarmed, flew upon him ; seized a 
pistol from the holsters, aimed at his head, and pulled 
the trigger. ' By good fortune ", says the Marshal, " the 
pistol had been discharged already during the battle, 
and so did no harm ". The Bavarian officers would 
have punished with death this offence alike against 
honour and discipline ; but Gramont himself begged 
off the culprit, urging that he was nothing more than 
a child, and thus saving him from being pistolled on 
the spot ; for all German and Austrian troops had a 
well-earned reputation for strictness in such matters. 1 

Following this incident, the Marshal gives a memor- 
able account of the retreat to Donauworth by night, 
and the crossing of the Danube in dire haste and con- 
fusion. He himself, as a tribute to his rank and im- 
portance, was kept apart from the other prisoners, and 
placed in the charge of a small body of dragoons, whose 
duty was not only to prevent his escape, but also to 
guard him from further attacks. On the same road, not 
far from him, the dead body of Mercy passed, flung into 
1 Mtmoires du Mar&hal-Duc de Gramont. 


a cart ; it was no time for ceremonious honouring of the 
dead. As they waited on the river's bank for the word 
to cross over, Gramont saw and marvelled at the 
sight " the man who had commanded the Imperial 
armies with such supreme power, and who, five or six 
hours earlier, had been feared throughout all Germany, 
lying stripped, face upwards, in the moonlight " ; his 
resting-place ' the miserable cart of a vivandiere ' ; 
and his watchers, two of the wretched women who 
followed the camp. The Bavarian soldiers were filled 
with such indignation at the sight, that Gramont had 
to be hidden from them, in one of the neighbouring 
houses. His perils, however, ended with the march ; 
he was honourably received at Ingolstadt, and treated 
with great consideration by the Elector Maximilian of 
Bavaria. ' Madame 1'filectrice ' also distinguished him, 
and sent him a present of a white silk scarf, embroidered 
by her own hands. Before a month had passed, his 
captivity was at an end ; he had been exchanged for 
Gleen, and was able to rejoin M. le Due at the siege of 

The town of Nordlingen had offered little or no 
resistance to the invading army. Some defence might 
have been attempted by the garrison ; but the burghers, 
in this case a stronger party, carried the day, and threw 
open the gates. The city was a welcome haven for the 
French troops, who found there, besides ammunition 
and horses, an invaluable store of medical comforts for 
the wounded. Eight days of rest were allowed before 
they resumed their march ; much refreshed, but too far 
reduced in numbers to attempt any further advance into 
the enemy's country. Reinforcements were not to be 
counted on ; any future success must be achieved 
nearer the frontier. From Nordlingen, Enghien 
marched northwards to Dinkelsbuhl, which capitu- 
lated on August 24th. Heilbronn was the town next 
to be invested ; but before the siege had begun, the Duke 
himself was entirely disabled for taking any active part 
in it. The illness which attacked him is described as 
1 a continued fever ' ; aggravated by the severe nervous 
and physical strain of the past weeks. It was at 
Dinkelsbuhl that he first fell ill ; but as he could not be 
left helpless, in a place so insufficiently protected, he 
was obliged to follow the army to Heilbronn ; a dis- 
tance of about sixty miles. Turenne and Gramont 


were not a little perplexed by the situation. M. le 
Due was evidently quite unfit to stay where he was, 
exposed to the dangers and hardships of the siege ; yet 
it was difficult to see how he could be transported else- 
where, through a country full of the enemy's troops, 
when he was scarcely able to stand, far less to ride. The 
choice seemed to lie between the risks of his dying in 
camp, or being taken prisoner on the road ; a grave 
responsibility for the two Marshals, in either case. 
Enghien, having reached the limit of endurance, im- 
plored Gramont pathetically, " by all the friendship 
he had for him ", to find some means of conveying him to 
Philippsbourg, the nearest town where he could be sure 
of comparative rest and quiet. Gramont, in his own 
words, "was inconsolable over M. le Due's condition". 
He consulted with Turenne and the assembled ' mare- 
chaux de camp ' ; and it was finally agreed that the 
Duke should be sent to Philippsbourg under his care ; 
no officer of less importance could be entrusted with 
such a mission. Gramont asked for an escort of one 
thousand horse ; more could not well be spared, and 
would only have attracted the enemy's attention. 
" In such a case as this ", he says, " every instant is 
precious " ; and the journey was perilous (' le pas 
etait glissant '). Enghien was in a high fever, and at 
intervals, delirious ; but notwithstanding all dangers, 
he was placed in a litter, and travelled the thirty-five 
miles between Heilbronn and Philippsbourg without a 
break, save for one halt, to feed the horses. Gramont, 
with a thankful heart, bestowed his charge in the Castle 
of Philippsbourg and saw him regain consciousness ; 
then took an affectionate leave of him, and hurried back 
to join Turenne. " I thought ", he writes to Mazarin, 
just before setting out, " that I could not well allow 
anyone but myself to have the care of M. le Due in 
bringing him to this place of quietness and safety ; I 
have accomplished it without any hindrance, and am 
now starting to rejoin the army. My journey may be 
rather lively (' un peu gaillard ') ; a good fourteen 
hours' march, and the enemy on the look-out. Still, 
I hope not to see Ingolstadt again this year ". 

Enghien was soon out of danger ; but there could 
be no question of his resuming his command before the 
end of the campaign, and it was some weeks before 
he was able to bear the journey to Paris. Tourville 


sends word to Mazarin, on September nth, that " the 
doctor gives hope of a good recovery ; this is all our 
consolation ". 1 The Duke, he says, is so much ex- 
hausted by his illness that it must be a long time before 
he regains his strength. " Monseigneur le Due com- 
mands me to beg Your Eminence, if Heilbronn should 
be taken, to give the Governorship to M. de Marsin, 
a gentleman of great worth, who served admirably 
in the last action ". During his convalescence at 
Philippsbourg, Enghien found himself in the company of 
several officers who had been wounded at Nordlingen, 
and who, like him, had been brought to this safest of 
frontier towns as to a haven of refuge. Among them 
was one, at least, whose society was thoroughly con- 
genial to him : Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, 
known to fame as the Sieur de St. Evremond ; at 
that time a lieutenant in the ' Gardes de M. le Due '. 
St. fivremond was temporarily crippled by a shot in 
the knee, but his lively spirit and conversational 
powers were in no way impaired. His companionship 
was a godsend to M. le Due, who, before he was strong 
enough to read to himself, employed this lieutenant of 
his guards to read aloud to him. The choice of sub- 
jects was left to St. Evremond, who started on the 
works of Rabelais ; but in these, for some reason, the 
Duke refused to take any pleasure. They were obliged, 
to have recourse to the lighter classical authors ; and read- 
ings from Petronius were found to be entirely successful. 
The news of Enghien 's serious illness caused great 
agitation at Court. Already the death-roll of Nord- 
lingen had spread as much dismay as was possible 
among that light-hearted company ; everyone seemed 
to be mourning the loss of a relation or a friend. " Our 
losses are so heavy ", Mazarin warned the Queen, when 
he brought her the dispatches, " that Your Majesty 
can scarcely rejoice over the victory ". Madame de 
Rambouillet was stricken by the death of her only 
son, Leon d'Angennes, Marquis de Pisani, a ' damois- 
eau ' who had preferred active service with M. le Due 
to the most brilliant prospects of a courtier. Immedi- 
ately on the shock of these tidings came word of 
Enghien 's danger. Madame la Princesse was in despair 
at not being allowed to set out at once for Philipps- 
bourg : "I have been four days without hearing news 
1 A.C., September u, 1645. 


of you ", she writes, " and I am in such anxiety that 
I cannot tell what I am doing ; if it were possible for 
me to go where you are, I should have been there long 
ago ". 1 The Queen sent a letter, written with her own 
hand, expressing her concern, and desiring ' M. mon 
Cousin f to make no attempt to rejoin the army, but 
to consider his health only, and to return to Paris as 
soon as he w r as equal to the fatigues of the journey. 

Mazarin urges the same precautions. " Although ", 
he says, " it would be an act of presumption on 
my part to add my prayers to the wishes of Her 
Majesty ; but after so acute and dangerous an ill- 
ness a relapse is always to be feared ". 2 The Marshal 
de 1'Hopital, forgetting Enghien's high-handed treat- 
ment of him on an earlier occasion, sends cordial con- 
gratulations on his recovery : " As the illness of Your 
Highness had brought great and just sorrow to the 
Court, and to all good Frenchmen, so the news of your 
restoration to health has brought them untold joy ". 3 
Gaspard de Coligny protests, in less formal language, that 
since Monseigneur's convalescence is now established, he 
feels able to bear, without even swearing, " all the kicks 
that it may please Fortune to deal him ".* The ' petits- 
maitres ' interspersed their heartfelt congratulations with 
burlesque lamentations over the loss of M. le Due's hair ; 
for his head had been shaved during the fever. The in- 
evitable verses on the subject are supplied by a writer of 
some note, the Comte de Bussy-Rabutin, cousin and 
correspondent of Madame de Sevigne ; and sent by him 
from the camp at Heilbronn to Lenet in Paris : 

" Au reste nous avons passe 

Par d'epouvantables alarmes ; 
Si le prince fut trepasse, 

Combien de cris, combien de larmes ! 

Mais enfin Dieu nous 1'a rendu 
Comme il etoit, tout plein de charmes, 

A cela pres qu'il est tondu. 
Cette tete si belle et si bonne, 
Pour qui la deesse Bellone 
A tou jours eu tant de respect, 
Vient de recevoir un echec : 
D'un barbier la main trop osee 
De son ornement 1'a privee. 
Dis-nous pourquoi Dieu 1'a permis, 
Vu qu'il parait de ses amis ? 

1 A.C., September 25, 1645. 2 * A.C., October, 1645. 

3 * A .., October, 1645. 4 * A .C., 1645. 



Je crois, moi qui ne suis pas bete, 

ue Dieu ne veut pas que la tete 
u plus grand de tous les guerriers 
Soil couverte que de lauriers ". 

The Duke's appearance, shorn, and thinner even 
than before his illness, may well have created a sensa- 
tion on his return ; but his friends were presently 
consoled ; his hair grew again, in spite of Bussy- 
Rabutin's ingenious suggestion, and was soon as 
conspicuous as ever. 

Towards the end of September, Enghien left Philipps- 
bourg and travelled by slow stages to Chantilly. 
Madame la Princesse had occupied herself with every 
imaginable preparation for his comfort. She went 
from the Court at Fontainebleau to receive him ; 
accompanied by Madame la Duchesse, who found her- 
self allowed a brief hour of comparative importance. 
One of Henri de Bourbon's confidential secretaries sends 
word to his master that the meeting between the Duke 
and Duchess has passed off well ; " in a manner as 
courteous and honourable as could be wished "- 1 
Enghien had many visitors during the month he spent 
in completing his recovery at Chantilly. Among 
others was the Baron de Sirot, lately returned to France 
after a captivity dating from the defeat of Rottweil. 
Sirot, in the course of these two years, had had much 
personal intercourse with Mercy, for whom he had 
conceived a fervent admiration. " Well, Baron ", said 
Enghien, as he greeted him, " I wanted you at Nord- 
lingen. You might have had your revenge on the 
Imperialists ". " Mon Prince ", answered Sirot, " let 
us not speak of the unfortunate ; you have . beaten 
them now, but they beat us first, and fortune is ever 
inconstant. I am overjoyed at Your Highness' 
success at this action ; but I regret infinitely the death 
of General , Mercy ; he was a great man, and greater 
even than he seemed ; brave in war, and faithful to 
his word. I have proved him on both points. Your 
Highness will allow him the tribute he deserves ; you 
have seen him in fight ; but you had not my experience 
of his other qualities ". 2 Enghien was willing enough 
to join in praise of Mercy. Both he and Turenne freely 
admitted that this greatest of their adversaries " never 

^A.C., 1646. 

2 M&moires du Baron de Sirjt. 


missed a single opportunity, and never failed to 
penetrate their designs, as surely as though he had 
been present at their councils ". Neither was destined 
to meet such an opponent again, till the day when 
Conde and Turenne were measured against each other. 

M. le Due, taking up his abode again in Paris 
towards the close of the year, found his favour and 
interest more than ever in demand. The levees which 
he held, with all the state appertaining to a Prince of 
the Blood, were eagerly attended by the nobles of the 
Court, and by ' messieurs du parlement ' as well. He 
entertained, moreover, on his own account, with a 
magnificence which greatly disturbed the Prince, his 
father. In fact, the only amendment in Enghien's 
conduct towards his wife after the question of the 
* demariage ' had been disposed of, was the one least 
likely to be approved by his family ; for whereas 
formerly he had been content to ignore her, it now 
occurred to him that the world, at least, should treat 
the Duchesse d'Enghien with some consideration. He 
insisted that large sums of money should be forth- 
coming to provide her with an establishment worthy 
of her husband's dignity ; Madame la Duchesse must 
have her allowance, and having it, must spend it ; 
economies were forbidden. Apart from these claims, 
M. le Due showed no greater domestic inclinations than 
before. He had no wish to entangle himself in any 
serious love-affair ; " il faisoit le fanfaron contre la 
galanterie " ; but his manner of life was increasingly 
reckless and unprincipled. Henri de Bourbon, the 
wildness of whose own youth had been second to none, 
remonstrated vainly on both moral and religious 
grounds. Enghien was now surrounded, not only by 
the ' petits-maitres ', but by a circle of the least orthodox 
writers and scientists of the hour ; an unscrupulous 
company, for the most part, whose cleverness often 
brilliant was strongly tinged with charlatanism. Their 
intercourse served as a kind of intellectual dissipation 
to the Duke, who developed an insatiable curiosity in 
the matter of all forms of religious belief, or unbelief. 
Atheists, Deists, Socinians, exponents of every creed 
and denomination, all were alike entertained. The 
discussions were shared by such men as St. Evremond, 
Bussy-Rabutin, and Bourdelot, the learned, if some- 
what disreputable, doctor of medicine who afterwards 


entered the service of Christina of Sweden, and who 
figures in the correspondence of Pascal. Enghien still 
kept up a few outward forms of religion, such as were 
required of all Princes and public officials on state 
occasions ; but he made no secret of his own heteredox 
views, and probably rather enjoyed the scandal they 
sometimes created. It may be that his new associates 
were not entirely responsible. The example set him 
from childhood by the Christian princes before his 
eyes might have gone far to destroy confidence in any 
faith they professed. 

The ' angels ' of Chantilly and Liancourt did not 
take much part in theological arguments ; their interests 
were mainly literary and sentimental. Other women, 
not less gifted, of riper experience and more masculine 
intellect, joined freely in the discussions ; notably the 
Princess Anne de Gonzague, better known as ' La 
Palatine ', whose friendship was to be a powerful factor 
in Condi's later life. Anne de Gonzague, younger sister 
of the Duchesse de Nevers, had reached the age of 
thirty in 1645. Her youth had passed in adventures 
which no writer of romance could have improved upon ; 
at sixteen she had eloped from a convent with the 
Due de Guise, 1 a man of whom it was truly said that 
" no woman could praise him without failing in duty to 
her sex ". Within a year he had deserted her ; and 
she had since married Edward, Prince Palatine, son 
of the dethroned King of Bohemia, and brother of 
Prince Rupert. Of her mental powers, no less a judge 
than Cardinal de Retz asserted that " Queen Elizabeth 
of England had not more capacity for affairs of state ". 
Her religious views, at this time, were even less orthodox 
than those of M. le Due ; like him she was consumed 
by intellectual curiosity, and to tell or to hear some 
new thing was as irresistible to her as to the Athenians 
of old. 

Marie de Gonzague, scarcely less than her sister, 
was a friend whose keen and commanding intelligence 
appealed strongly to Enghien ; he was a constant 
frequenter of her ' salon ' at the Hotel de Nevers, and 
but for her marriage, which practically entailed exile 
from France, she might well have played a yet more 
important part in his life. Throughout the autumn 
of 1645 all eyes were turned on Princess Marie. 

1 Henri de Lorraine, grandson of ' le Balafre '. 


Ladislas vn, King of Poland, had signified his intention 
of making a second marriage, and also a wish that his 
bride should be a French Princess. Proposals had first 
been made to Mademoiselle de Montpensier, who rejected 
them with unqualified scorn ; and indeed, King Ladislas 
had little to offer but his crown. The difference in 
their ages, Mademoiselle might have overlooked ; but 
he was, by all accounts, repulsive to look on (' hai'ssable 
de sa personne ') and brutal in manners ; moreover, 
his kingdom was remote and barbarous. Mademoiselle 
had every reason to hope for a better fate. Marie 
de Gonzague, on the other hand, occupied a slightly 
ambiguous position at the French Court. Neither 
her birth, nor her fortune, was equal to that of a royal 
princess ; she had been thought no match for a Prince 
of the reigning House ; yet any bridegroom of lower 
rank she considered no match for her. Monsieur had 
been in love with her, and was with difficulty prevented 
from marrying her, after the death of his first wife. 
Since that time rumour had given her many lovers, 
of whom Cinq-Mars was the most celebrated. Now, 
at length, her ambition was so far gratified that she 
found herself prospectively a Queen. Mademoiselle 
having refused, there was a dearth of eligible princesses, 
and Madame la Princesse had urged her friend's claim 
with the authorities, setting on M. de Due to do the 
like. Possibly these same authorities did not regret 
an opportunity for ridding themselves of a clever, 
ambitious, and intriguing Princess. The Queen-Regent, 
in any case, was not reluctant to accept the idea, and 
smoothed away the objection that the bride was not of 
royal birth, by announcing that she should be married 
with all the state of a daughter of France. A portrait 
of Princess Marie was sent to Warsaw, and found such 
favour with the King, that he insisted on the wedding 
preparations being set forward immediately. 

The marriage festivities drew all the Court to Paris. 
Chantilly, for the moment, was deserted ; and the 
clique itself began to show signs of a changed character. 
Enghien had done with romance ; Madame de Longue- 
ville and some other of the ' angels ' were beginning 
to turn their attention from poetry to affairs of State. 
Already, on the far horizon, there had risen the shadow 
of the Fronde. 




THE wedding of Princess Marie de Gonzague was the 
first public ceremony at which Enghien appeared after 
his illness. Ladislas vn was married to his French 
bride by proxy on November 6th, 1645 ; a special 
ambassador from Poland represented the bridegroom, 
and the train sent with him to escort the new Queen 
back to her dominions, astounded the whole Court by 
its barbaric splendour. The Queen-Regent was as good 
as her word. Princess Marie was married as a daughter 
of France ; and this spurious promotion gave a welcome 
opportunity for the display of private jealousies. Thus, 
the House of Conde spared no pains to show her royal 
honours ; partly for friendship's sake, and partly to 
emphasise the unconcealed annoyance of the Houses of 
Orleans and Guise. The disputes beforehand as to what 
order of precedence should be observed during the 
actual ceremony, were of so fierce and complicated a 
nature, that the Queen gave up the subject in despair ; 
she declared that the wedding should not take place, as 
had been intended, in Notre-Dame, but in the private 
chapel of the Palais-Royal, where want of space would 
make it impossible for any Prince to demand a special 
prie-dieu for himself. Mademoiselle could scarcely be 
persuaded to make the prescribed visit to the bride 
and offer her congratulations ; was she to accept a 
1 tabouret ', while this Queen of a few hours' standing, 
whom till now she had always preceded, occupied the 
coveted ' chaise a dos ' ? For once Mademoiselle was in 
full agreement with ' Madame ', her stepmother ; 1 they 
rejoiced together when the newly married Queen 

1 Marguerite de Lorraine, sister of Duke Charles iv ; second wife of 
Gaston d 'Orleans. 


arrived inopportunely to make her farewells to Monsieur, 
at the moment when His Royal Highness was being 
shaved ; and found herself obliged to wait half an hour 
before he could receive her. Fortunately, Marie de 
Gonzague was gifted with a sense of humour ; and, not 
having been born a Bourbon, she was able to endure 
these grievous insults with comparative calm. Amends 
were offered by those whose support was worth more 
than that of Monsieur, or even of Mademoiselle. The 
Queen-Regent gave a magnificent ball in her honour, at 
which the Polish envoys were treated with all possible 
respect ; the little King, who, at seven years old, was 
already an accomplished dancer, himself led out the 
bride ; and if courtiers are to be believed, his perform- 
ance must indeed have been a charming sight. When 
the Queen of Poland left Paris, the King, the Queen- 
Regent, Madame la Princesse, and M. le Due accom- 
panied her to the city gates ; while Monsieur and the 
1 Guisards J held aloof, and did not even send repre- 
sentatives. In justice to the departing bride, it should 
be said that she showed great reluctance, at the last, to 
take her leave ; ambition had not deadened all her 
regrets for the past or her fears for the future. Her 
arrival in Warsaw, and her reception by the ferocious 
and barely civilised old King, were enough to daunt 
the stoutest-hearted Princess ; but she had chosen her 
part, and played it with skill and courage. It was not 
long before she was able to establish an influence in her 
new sphere ; and her future life was to offer free scope 
for her adventurous spirit. 

Throughout the winter months trivial disputes 
succeeded each other between M. le Due and his 
cousins of Orleans. One of many disturbances is worth 
recalling, since it introduces a personage destined to 
play an important part in Enghien's career : Paul de 
Gondi, afterwards Cardinal de Retz, known at that 
time as ' M. le Coadjuteur ', from his office of Coadjutor, 
or Suffragan, to the Archbishop of Paris. Retz is vividly 
revealed, in mind and person, both in his own memoirs 
and in various contemporary portraits. A dark, ill- 
favoured, intelligent face ; an awkward, undersized 
figure ; a great command of audacious eloquence, and 
the brain of a conspirator of the first rank. The Coad- 
jutor's attitude towards the religious aspect of his office 
was frankly and even ostentatiously contemptuous ; 


he writes with conscious pride of his duels and his love- 
affairs ; but its political advantages he could appreciate 
to the utmost. One gift, invaluable to a statesman, he 
possessed in full : he was an admirable judge of his 
fellow-men ; his definitions of character are among the 
most illuminating of their kind. Few ever sounded 
Enghien 's mind and disposition as he did ; and no one 
has written of him more justly, on the whole, or with 
greater insight. Retz was not many years older than 
the Duke, and was recommended to him by two 
qualities which Enghien seldom failed to recognise : a 
quick wit, and dauntless personal courage. In addition, 
he had early contrived to offend Gaston d 'Orleans ; no 
more was needed to call M. le Due to his side. The 
offence in question was, briefly, that the Coadjutor, in 
virtue of his office, had accepted precedence of Monsieur 
in Notre-Dame ; he was ' censed ' before him at Vespers. 
There could have been no doubt of Monsieur's prior 
claim elsewhere ; but in a consecrated place, even a 
humble ecclesiastic must pass before a Prince of this 
world. Retz himself pleaded his case : " Did not 
the last of the Carmelite brothers go up to adore the 
Cross on Good Friday before Your Royal Highness ? " 
Gaston, left to himself, might have passed the matter 
over ; but was assiduously stirred up to wrath by the 
Abbe de la Riviere, and other untiring mischief-makers, 
till he vowed, at length, that the Coadjutor should 
give place to him in church or out. The Queen sent 
for Retz, and explained to him " that Monsieur was in 
a great rage ; and that she was very sorry for it ; 
still, he was Monsieur, and she could not but support 
his claim " ; amends must be made publicly, by the 
granting of whatever precedence he wished, at Vespers 
on the following Sunday. The order was forcibly 
seconded by Mazarin ; and as Retz still continued 
anything but submissive, messengers were sent later 
to warn him that Monsieur was prepared to use force, 
and would have him taken from Notre-Dame by his 
own guards, if he refused to give way. Retz admits 
his own want of forethought in embarking on a quarrel 
with a Prince of Gaston 's rank. " It was the most 
foolish act of my life ", he says, " yet it served me well. 
My audacity pleased M. le Due, to whom I had the 
honour to be related, and who hated the Abbe de la 
Riviere ", Enghien confronted Mazarin, and de- 


clared that Retz was a relation and a protege of his, 
and that no one should lay a ringer on him. At this 
point Henri de Bourbon intervened, bent on averting 
any open breach between his son and the Court. He 
prevailed, with some difficulty, on the Coadjutor, to 
wait formally on Monsieur, and to offer, not the suggested 
amends, but an elaborate apology, putting forward 
the rule of the Church. Monsieur, never long of one 
mind, had by now forgotten his anger, and received 
the offender amiably. Retz triumphed, and Mazarin 
added another item to his record against M. le Due. 

Following hard on such dissensions, in the spring 
of 1646 there came, to the amazement of all Paris, the 
news that Monsieur was to resume his command in 
Flanders, and that Enghien was to serve with him as 
his Lieutenant-General . M. le Due was to command 
his own troops, otherwise the l army of Champagne ' ; 
his official position towards Gaston d 'Orleans would 
be the same as that which Turenne and Gramont had 
formerly held towards himself. The circumstances 
which had led up to this unexpected announcement, 
were in reality simple enough. Nordlingen, and the 
death of Mercy, had arrested the advance of the 
Imperial forces, and shifted the principal scene of war. 
Mazarin had convinced himself that the chief efforts 
of the French army must now be directed, not towards 
Germany, but to the Low Countries, where the 
Spaniards, during the past year, had gained ground, 
in spite of the supposed influence of Monsieur and the 
real efforts of Gassion. Neither supplies nor reinforce- 
ments had ever been denied to the ' army of Picardy ' 
under Monsieur's command, and still no lasting success 
seemed attainable. Mazarin, it was said, had at length 
consulted Gassion, and asked him plainly what more 
could be required. Gassion, with his usual directness, 
answered : " We want a General like M. le Due ". If 
Enghien were to command in Flanders, it could only 
be as second to Monsieur, whose rank demanded the 
first place, and even so, Mazarin may well have doubted 
whether His Royal Highness would sanction the appoint- 
ment. Two years earlier, Gaston had resisted the 
suggestion of Enghien 's serving with him in any capacity. 
But now, his views had changed ; his campaigns 
had given him a certain confidence, and he was gratified 
by the prospect of having, even nominally, at his 


orders a subordinate as distinguished as M. le Due. 
Moreover, Enghien's presence, on any campaign, was 
held to ensure success ; and Gaston d 'Orleans, Com- 
mander-in-Chief, could not fail to reap a share of the 
attendant glory. Enghien, when the scheme was 
propounded to him, did not hesitate long. The dis- 
advantages of being associated with Monsieur in any 
serious undertaking were sufficiently obvious. On the 
other hand, there would be an escape from the difficulties 
invariably connected with a German campaign : the 
long waiting for phantom reinforcements ; the dreari- 
ness of manoeuvring, for weeks at a time, with a small 
army over immense tracts of country, perhaps without 
so much as a sight of the enemy. In the limited area 
of the Low Countries a certain amount of hand-to- 
hand fighting might fairly be counted on. A campaign 
in Flanders, at the present crisis, not only gave greater 
chance of personal distinction, but was also, from 
Enghien 's point of view, incomparably more entertain- 
ing than a possible series of operations on the German 
frontier. M. le Due accepted the offered post ; and 
told his friends that, since he had begun the conquest 
of Flanders at Rocroy, it was but just that he should 
take this opportunity of finishing it. 

The Low Countries had long been as popular a 
seat of war as Germany was the reverse ; and when it 
was made known that M. le Due himself was to lead an 
army across the northern frontier, the rush of ' volon- 
taires ' was unparalleled. Those who had been willing 
to follow him before, were ardent now. The younger 
nobles surrounded him in a swarm ; all zealous, all 
valiant ; some, at least, with no other qualifications. 
Enghien was divided between pleasure in their society 
and an acute dislike, instinctive rather than con- 
scientious, of seeing military affairs mismanaged. In 
the end he contrived to find, or to make, nominal 
occupations for the greater number of them ; and 
thereby multiplied his own cares ; for, rather than be 
accused of favouritism or want of professional dis- 
cernment, he worked doubly and trebly hard to cover 
their deficiencies. For effective help he looked chiefly 
to Gramont, the only Marshal under his command, and 
to the most competent of the ' petits-maitres ', Coligny, 
Chabot, and La Moussaye, three faithful companions- 
in-arms. Monsieur had under his direct orders three 


Marshals of France : Gassion and Rantzau, each in 
command of a division ; and La Meilleraie, exercising 
his functions as ' grand maitre d'artillerie '. But not one 
of these tried warriors could compete in influence with 
the Abbe de la Riviere; who, though emphatically 
a man of peace, in character as well as by profession, 
was too indispensable to be spared from Monsieur's 
suite. The whole staff watched eagerly to see whether 
M. le Due would succeed where others had failed, 
and whether he or La Riviere was most likely to control 
the unstable mind of the Commander-in-Chief. 

All the interest of the Court was centred in the army 
whose operations were to be directed by two Princes of 
the Blood. The Queen- Regent, with her two sons, 
followed by an imposing retinue of ministers and 
courtiers, journeyed as far as Amiens, and there took 
leave of Monsieur, in the early days of June. The 
Commander-in-Chief joined his forces at Auxi-le- 
Chateau, on the borders of Picardy and Artois. Enghien 
was assembling the ' army of Champagne ' farther 
eastwards, at Marie ; while Gassion, whose division had 
riot left Flanders, came from Menin across the frontier 
to attend the first council of war . The combined strength 
of the armies of Picardy and Champagne amounted to 
thirty thousand men. The enemy's forces, about equal 
in number, had been placed by the Spanish King, 
Philip iv, under the supreme command of Duke Charles 
of Lorraine, whose army was still in the pay of the 
Austro-Spanish alliance ; Gaston d 'Orleans, married 
to a Princess of Lorraine, was thus, incidentally, taking 
the field against his own brother-in-law. To the 
Spaniards and Lorrainers had lately been added an 
Austrian contingent, led by two well-known soldiers 
of fortune : Ottavio Piccolomini and Guillaume de 
Lamboy. General Beck and the Marquis de Caracena 
commanded the Spanish and Lorraine troops under 
Duke Charles . The main strength of these allied troops 
was concentrated on the banks of the Scheldt, between 
Tournai and Mortagne, preparing to resist the expected 
advance, of the French into Hainault. Farther to the 
west, a detached force, under Caracena, was stationed 
between Ypres and Lille. 

Monsieur presided over the first council of the Cam- 
paign at Arras, on June 7th. This was the first trial 
of strength between Enghien and La Riviere, and the 


officers present observed, with some dismay, that the 
advantage was by no means entirely on the side of the 
Duke. Gaston's notions as to a plan of campaign were 
of the vaguest description. Alone, he would probably 
have been a tool, though but an indifferent one, in 
the hands of his Lieutenant-General, and so M. le Due 
had expected to find him ; but the Lieutenant-General, 
in this case, had been absent for some weeks, bringing 
his troops from Marie, by way of Landrecies and 
Bapaume ; whereas La Riviere never left his master's 
immediate neighbourhood, and had made the most 
of his late opportunities. His strongest feeling, at the 
moment, was a keen anxiety for his own personal 
safety ; he abhorred the idea of any dangerous under- 
taking, and looked on M. le Due, not unnaturally, 
as the greatest enemy of his peace of mind. Under the 
circumstances, it was easy for him to persuade Monsieur 
that he owed it to his position to resist any proposal of 
Enghien's, and to exercise to the utmost his power of 
veto as Commander-in-Chief. The council resulted, 
as might have been expected, in chaos. M. le Due, 
wholly unaccustomed to such opposition, wept tears of 
rage, and threatened to go back to Paris. As a pro- 
pitiation, his troops were allowed to form the advance 
guard, and operations were begun on the following day 
by a march northwards as far as Pont-a-Vendin. 
Enghien's first thought, as usual, was how best to take 
steps for provoking a general action. He marched 
upon Tournai, secured a passage across the Scheldt, 
and sent word to Monsieur suggesting preparations 
for an attack. In answer came an intimation that His 
Royal Highness had altered the plan of campaign, 
if plan it could be called. He had decided on the siege 
of Courtrai, and an advance along the river Lys, a 
western tributary of the Scheldt. Enghien's forces 
were now to fall in as the rear-guard, and to keep watch 
against possible hindrance from Duke Charles and 
Piccolomini on the right, or from Caracena on the left. 
On the route, he was to occupy the fortress of Lannoy, 
near Lille, which would serve to keep a line open for 
convoys to the troops before Courtrai. 

The prospect of a siege was a poor exchange for that 
of a pitched battle ; still, the fact that Gaston should 
have resolved on any definite enterprise was so much 
to the good, and Courtrai might well prove a useful 


acquisition. Enghien carried out his orders promptly 
and to the letter. Disappointed and humiliated as he 
was, he could still realise that in his present position 
there was no advantage to be gained by an open breach 
of discipline. For his own sake, quite as much as 
from any public-spirited motive, he wished nothing 
so much as the success of the campaign ; and to his 
professional instinct it was evident that the only possible 
course was to keep on good terms with Monsieur, in the 
hope of defeating La Riviere on his own ground. The 
march to re-join the main army, after the occupation 
of Lannoy, brought him again within sight of the enemy ; 
but since his own eight or ten thousand men would have 
been opposed to more than double their number, he 
was forced to avoid all chance of an engagement. 

Courtrai was invested by the night of June i4th ; 
too late, however, to forestall a reinforcement dispatched 
by Caracena which had just effected an entrance, under 
an Italian officer, Delli-Ponti, famed for his knowledge 
of engineering and siege- works. But for this fortunate 
stroke, the movements of the Austro-Spanish army 
were characterised by no more method than those of 
the French. The fighting qualities of the men of 
Lorraine were justly held in high repute ; but their 
services were dearly bought at the price of political 
or military dealings with their leiader. Charles of 
Lorraine was a perfect specimen of an exasperating 
type ; a man of great abilities, deliberately posing as 
an eccentric. " If I had not known him to be a very 
clever man, I should have taken him for a lunatic ", 
was Mademoiselle's verdict after one of his brief appear- 
ances in Paris. Marie de Gonzague, on her journey 
into Poland, writes in a more tolerant spirit to Madame 
la Princesse : " M. de Lorraine went with me part of the 
way ; he looks so crazy that I cannot help liking him, 
and his conversation is all disconnected ", 1 Duke 
Charles was no less erratic in the field than at Court. 
If he was rash at one moment, he would be obstinately 
inactive the next ; and that not from any want of 
courage, but from sheer indifference ; while to any 
remonstrance he could always oppose the threat of 
withdrawing himself and his forces from their present 
service and seeking employment elsewhere. He watched 
the progress of the siege of Courtrai, and made no 

1 A.C., December 14, 1645. 


organised attempt to engage the attacking force ; to 
the frank astonishment of Enghien and his officers, 
most of whom were ready to share Gramont's opinion 
that " no army of nearly thirty thousand men, led 
by several distinguished commanders, had ever acted 
with such feebleness and uncertainty ". The efforts 
for the relief were practically limited to a few 
skirmishes ; no importance seems to have been 
attached to them, except by the Abb de la Riviere, 
whose unconcealed terrors were a standing source of 
amusement throughout the whole army. He was even 
heard to suggest that Monsieur's invaluable life ought 
not to be exposed to these unceasing dangers, and that 
it would be well to raise the siege without delay. It 
was rumoured in the camp that Gassion, who had 
charge of the section of investment nearest the enemy, 
took a malicious pleasure in sending pressing appeals for 
help to the adjoining sections on the slightest provo- 
cation, chiefly for the purpose of tormenting La Riviere. 
It is difficult to believe that a soldier of Gassion's repu- 
tation could be guilty of such unprofessional conduct ; 
still, the fact remained that his demands were arbitrary, 
and not always justified, and the joke, if such it was, 
more successful than well-judged. Enghien knew 
well that Gassion's position might become critical at 
any moment, if Duke Charles were to be roused to 
action ; and at the outset of the siege he had promised 
to send help as often as it should be required. Conse- 
quently, the summons which perpetually alarmed 
La Riviere, gave an immense amount of unnecessary 
work in the section commanded by M. le Due. No 
one ever accused Enghien of an undue wish to spare 
himself, and he was not likely to be careful for the 
feelings of La Riviere ; but he resented the strain, both 
on officers and men, of these repeated false alarms, 
which he attributed to ' gasconisme ' and a love of 
self-advertisement. He kept his word, and sent rein- 
forcements as long as he had men to spare ; but in 
revenge he scoffed openly at what he called ' les riens 
de Gassion ', and the good understanding between 
him and the Marshal received its first shock. 

The garrison of Courtrai, knowing the situation of 
the Spanish forces, imagined at first that relief would 
not be long delayed. The Duke of Lorraine's method 
of warfare had yet to be revealed. On the ninth day 


of the siege a definite attempt to pass in a reinforcement 
was made ; only to be repulsed with considerable 
loss. Following this reverse, the Spaniards relapsed 
again into desultory skirmishing ; while the defenders 
of the town realised by degrees that no further help was 
to be looked for. The governor, Antonio de Quevedo, 
sent an envoy to demand terms of M. le Due, whom 
he persisted in treating as the real leader of the besieging 
force ; Enghien, mindful of his resolutions, felt bound 
to refer him immediately to Monsieur, and negotiations 
were set on foot. Duke Charles now came forward, and 
fully justified Mademoiselle's belief in his cleverness. 
His chief object was to withdraw his forces from their 
present position ; otherwise, he would be in danger, 
the moment the French were able to leave Courtrai. 
He found an easy prey in Gaston, who allowed himself to 
be kept in uncertainty for some days, before Quevedo 's 
garrison marched out with the honours of war on 
June 29th ; and meanwhile the Spanish and Lorraine 
troops seized the opportunity of retreating towards 
the north. ' If only M. le Due had been listened to 1 ' 
was the complaint of the French officers forced to stand 
by and see their enemy escape them. Certainly, there 
was little trace of Enghien 's counsels in the dealings 
over the surrender of fourtrai ; but the relations 
between the Commander-in-Chief and his Lieutenant- 
General were, nevertheless, assuming a more hopeful 
character. Monsieur was gratified by Enghien 's defer- 
ence, and what was even more important, very much 
entertained by his company, from a social point of view. 
His Royal Highness, like all indolent persons, liked 
nothing so well as to be saved from dullness without 
effort to himself ; and no one was better able to supply 
this want than M. le Due, when once he had the mind. 

Courtrai was garrisoned, and the fortifications re- 
paired ; and it was not till July i6th that the French 
army set out northwards, leaving the course of the 
Lys, and following up the enemy towards Bruges. 
That march was long remembered as a trial of en- 
durance by all who took part in it. The summer heat 
of the year 1646 was noted everywhere as exceptional, 
and the whole army suffered proportionately. Water 
ran short, and much illness was caused by the men, 
half-mad with thirst, drinking from the canals. Those 
in authority would seem to have set no example of con- 


sideration for others. Aymar de Chouppes tells how, 
on one occasion when they camped in a treeless plain, 
the baggage had been delayed, leaving the two Princes 
with no shelter but a travelling-carriage, under a blazing 
sun ; and how they no sooner heard that he had been 
fortunate enough to secure a tent for himself, than they 
sent to demand the use of it, and turned him out, to fare 
as he might. The difficulty of managing supplies was 
increased tenfold ; no provisions could be stored, and the 
younger officers spent their time in foraging the neigh- 
bourhood. Chavagnac, serving as one of Enghien's 
aides-de-camp, was particularly successful, and pro- 
vided cheese and milk, which M. le Due declared to 
be the best he had ever tasted. 

The French army had marched from Courtrai in the 
hope of effecting a junction with a new ally, the Statt- 
holder. Frederick, Prince of Orange, once a soldier of 
great repute. The Prince was nominally in command 
of his own troops, and in former years would have 
proved as efficient a leader as could be wished ; but age 
and illness had weakened his faculties, till he was as 
little to be depended on as Charles of Lorraine himself. 
He was alternately swayed by his wife, a German Prin- 
cess, in sympathy with the Imperialists, and by his son, 
William of Nassau, 1 who favoured the French alliance. 
Gramont, condemned to prolonged dealings with the 
whole family, declared that " the Princess of Orange 
deprived her husband of any relics of sanity he possessed". 
The Stattholder's power lay not so much in the value 
of his help by land, as in the efficiency of his fleet. No 
strongholds of the Low Countries were more coveted 
than the coast-towns between Gravelines and Ostend; 
and these must be impregnable so long as their ports 
were left open to Spanish supplies. The French fleet 
was concentrated far away in the Mediterranean, on the 
coast of the Papal States, and the friendly sea-power 
at hand, however capricious, must not be alienated. 
The Stattholder was persuaded into conditions by 
which he promised help at sea ; in return, he demanded 
the transfer of six thousand men from the French 
command to his own ; and those in authority had no 
choice but to agree. Even after this transaction was 
completed, the Dutch forces, instead of joining in the 
operations before Bruges, retreated again towards the 

1 Afterwards Prince of Orange; father to William in of England. 


Scheldt estuary ; to the unconcealed disgust of Gramont, 
Coligny, and other officers temporarily attached to the 
transferred corps. 

The loss of six thousand men, under these circum- 
stances, was not to be lightly ignored. Still, Enghien 
had begun to feel his influence in the ascendant, and he 
could not resist one more attempt to bring about the 
decisive action for which his soul longed. The effort 
was vain ; even he was unequal to the combined task 
of stimulating Gaston, and at the same time forcing 
an enemy as crafty as the Duke of Lorraine to meet 
him against his will. At one moment success seemed 
almost within reach. La Riviere, paralysed with fear 
at the thought of a pitched battle, had pleaded illness 
and refused to leave Courtrai ; and in his absence 
Enghien so wrought upon Monsieur, that he seemed 
for a short time transformed. Never, so his followers 
declared, had His Royal Highness been seen so resolute, 
or in such martial humour. As the French army 
advanced upon Bruges, news came that the Duke of 
Lorraine was drawing up his forces in battle order, on 
the plain before the town. Enghien 's hopes rose high ; 
he pressed forward with the advance guard, sending 
back an urgent message to Gaston to bring up the 
remaining troops with all possible speed. But Gaston, 
though his fancy might be roused for an instant, was 
constitutionally incapable of prompt and sustained 
action. The messenger Chavagnac found him at 
dinner. "Tell my cousin", he said, "that he can 
attack whenever he likes. I will be with him immedi- 
ately ". Chavagnac, however, observed no sign of haste 
in his movements, and was obliged to report this im- 
pression to M. le Due, An attack with the advance 
guard, unsupported, was clearly out of the question. 
Enghein waited, consumed with impatience, and knowing 
that only a ridge of low hills separated him from the 
enemy. Meanwhile Duke Charles had leisure to repent 
of his challenge and to withdraw his forces to safety, 
under the walls of Bruges ; so that when at length the 
French troops reached the plain, they found no enemy 
to confront them. Enghien, in wrath and disappoint- 
ment, would not be satisfied without some explanation 
of these tactics ; he disregarded all conventions of his 
official rank, and set out the following night with a 
scouting party. A Spanish officer was waylaid, taken 


prisoner, and questioned ; all without his identifying 
M. le Due, whom doubtless he had never seen, and 
would scarcely expect to find acting as a captain of 
scouts. In answer to questions, he stated that the 
Duke of Lorraine had had every intention of giving 
battle, but had altered his decision on hearing that 
1 M. d'Enghien ' was leading the advance guard in 
person ; with which wholly unsolicited compliment 
M. le Due had perforce to be content. 

Several days passed in these unprofitable manoeuvres . 
Towards the end of July the French Generals returned 
to Courtrai, there to mature a scheme for the conquest 
of the coast towns. Bergues, Furnes, and Mardyck 
would open the way to that much-disputed prize, the 
' maiden city ' of Dunkirk ; famed alike as a fortress 
and a seaport, since the days when Count Baldwin 
of Flanders raised it from the fishing village where 
St. loi had founded the ' Church of the Dunes '. It 
was on Dunkirk that Enghien's ambitions were now 
centred, in default of the general action which had 
escaped him : 

" La Rochelle des Pays-bas, 
Cette inexorable pucelle, 
Eut pour mon Prince des appas 
Qui le firent amoureux d'elle ". l 

But he prudently forbore to urge the point too soon ; 
more especially since the Abbe de la Riviere had resumed 
his post on Monsieur's return to Courtrai. The three 
neighbouring fortresses must in any case be secured 
without loss of time ; otherwise the season would be 
too far advanced for any further enterprise on a large 
scale. Bergues, the first to be attacked, offered only 
forty-eight hours' resistance, and had capitulated before 
Caracena could march from Ypres to the relief. One 
vivid impression of the two days' siege is preserved by 
Aymar de Chouppes, who, with Rantzau, spent the 
whole of the first night in securing a position at the most- 
advantageous point on the outskirts of the town. The 
point in question could only be reached by means of 
a narrow, roughly-paved way, crossing a belt of marsh, 
and raked by the cannon from the town walls. In 
the morning Chouppes came with a report of the pro- 

1 Letter in verse on the campaign, sent by the Comte de Bussy-Rabutin 
to Madame de Sevigne. 


ceedings to Monsieur's ' lever ', and found the two 
Princes together. Enghien, hearing what Rantzau's 
troops had accomplished, and what difficulties they had 
overcome, declared that he must positively inspect the 
position for himself; Laval, with a small cavalry escort, 
was to attend him, and Chouppes would show them 
the way. Chouppes accordingly conducted him to a 
point of observation close to the edge of the marsh ; 
but Enghien, bent on a nearer view, first ordered his 
escort to halt ; then dismounted, and set out along the 
paved way. Laval and Chouppes followed, in no small 
alarm for him, quite aware that his arrival with an 
escort, showing him to be a person of consequence, 
must have been plainly visible from the town. Enghien 
was clad, for once, as befitted his rank, if not the occa- 
sion ; he wore a flame-coloured coat embroidered in 
gold and silver ; and as he advanced, against the back- 
ground of the marsh, no firefly in the dusk could have 
been more conspicuous than he. The mythologists of 
the Court might well say that Pallas Athene covered 
him with her shield ; for he followed the path unscathed, 
in spite of the enemy's repeated discharges of grape 
and musket shot. The officer in charge of the outer 
siege- work was hit, in the act of coming forward to 
receive him. M. le Due held on his way, inspected every 
detail of the position, expressed his approval, and 
returned by the same road that he had come, " saluted 
in the same manner as before". 1 

The surrender of Bergues (July 29th) was followed 
immediately by the investment of Mardyck. Duke 
Charles, inconsequent as ever, had suddenly tired of 
his command ; he delegated his authority, both over his 
own and the Spanish troops, to Beck, and retired to 
Brussels. Mardyck had been strongly garrisoned, and 
placed in the charge of a new Governor ; Don Fernando 
de Solis, the defender of Gravelines. Beck, seconded 
by Caracena, continued the Spanish traditions of war 
in the Low Countries ; his aim was to preserve and 
strengthen fortified places, rather than to seek action 
in the field. The Dutch fleet promised by the Statt- 
holder was still in preparation, and while, as at Courtrai, 
little attempt was made for the relief from without, 
supplies and reinforcements poured into the town, 
passing from Dunkirk along the sea-board. Caracena, 

1 Chouppes, M&moires. 


seeing the French forces entirely concentrated on the 
coast, turned westward, and surrounded the fortress 
of Menin, on the Lys, thus cutting off the direct line 
of communication with Courtrai. Even without his 
intervention, the siege of Mardyck proved a test of 
skill and patience. The fortifications were simple, 
almost to insignificance, but around them stretched 
the Dunes ; the rolling waves of loose sand from which 
Dunkirk takes its name. Here was no cover ; in some 
places, scarcely foothold ; not one yard of solid earth 
for the construction of siege-works. Still, the whole 
army knew that, if Mardyck held out successfully, 
there would be no chance of reducing Dunkirk ; and 
the knowledge was stimulating. Trenches were dug 
and parapets raised, notwithstanding natural diffi- 
culties and the repeated sorties of the garrison. The 
' petits-maitres ' revelling in the occasion ; and, more 
than ever fired by their leader's presence, exposed their 
lives with untiring zeal and much seeming enjoyment. 

August 1 3th, the eighth day of the siege, was marked 
by the most determined of these sorties. Bussy- 
Rabutin, serving in the trenches in Enghien's section 
of the investment, was that same day entertaining four 
of his friends at dinner behind a small parapet or 
' epaulement ' : Beaujeu, lieutenant of M. le Due's 
chevau-legers ; Des Roches, captain of his guards ; 
Hauterive, one of his aides-de-camp ; and the Comte 
d'Oroue, a ' volontaire '. They were a cheerful com- 
pany ; and the six musicians (' les petits violons ') who 
formed part of the Duke's suite, had been lent them as 
a special favour. Before the first course was ended, came 
word that the enemy were sallying out from their 
defences. Bussy at once ordered his own horsemen to 
mount, and dashed off with them to the head of the 
trench. Beaujeu followed him ; the other three guests 
joined M. le Due, who was hastening up from his quarters. 
Bussy found the men of the Swiss regiment, who should 
have been on guard, already driven from their post ; 
three hundred of the enemy were in the trench, pro- 
tected by a battalion of Spanish infantry, and vigorously 
demolishing the earth or rather sand works of the 
besieging force. Half his men he left to engage the 
infantry at the head of the trench ; with the other half 
he turned to attack the destroying party in rear, and 
cut a way through them. Enghien, with his followers, 


also in the trench, had attacked in front, and fought 
through to the rear ; so that Bussy at the close of the 
fight met him face to face, a sight not easily to be 
forgotten. " Never ", says Bussy, " can I recall the 
state in which I found the Prince, without thinking of 
some picture, where the artist has striven his utmost to 
represent Mars in battle ! " Enghien was fighting without 
armour, and on his sword-arm the sleeve of his shirt 
was steeped in blood ; he was possessed with the fury 
of combat, and with rage at seeing his cherished earth- 
works destroyed. Bussy cried out to him, asking if he 
were wounded, and he called back in answer : " Non, 
c'est le sang de ces coquins ! " 

The trench was cleared ; the Swiss soldiers rallied, 
and re-occupied their post. Bussy returned to the 
head of the trench, where the men he had left still held 
their ground, though their losses had been considerable. 
The enemy had retired towards the palisade which 
formed the outermost defence of the town. The small 
remaining force of Bussy 's horsemen had that moment 
been joined by a group of some half-dozen ' volon- 
taires ', young men of the noblest families in France, 
whose names, indeed, are so many ' sweet symphonies ' : 
Charles- Amedee de Savoie, Due de Nemours ; Francois 
de la Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac ; 1 Guy de 
Laval ; Gaston de Foix ; Francois de Fiesque, Knight 
of Malta ; Henri du Plessis de Liancourt, Comte de la 
Roche-Guyon. Bussy found himself surrounded by 
them, while each and all implored him, since they had 
missed the early part of the fight, to lead them, now, to 
attack the Spanish battalion. Bussy was no coward, 
but he hesitated ; the Spaniards had retreated in good 
order, and were drawn up so close under the palisade, 
that they could only be attacked within range of fire 
from the walls. But it happened that one of the 
petitioners came of a princely house ; and when a 
Prince begged, a gentleman could not refuse. Bussy 
offered to lead one charge, if M. de Nemours had set 
his heart on it. Nothing, he was eagerly assured, 
had ever been more ardently wished for. " Aliens, 
Messieurs, suivez-moi ! " and the word was given; 
the handful of cavalry charged the battalion, and was 
met by a murderous fire. Laval and Bussy each 
escaped with the loss of a horse ; La Roche-Guyon, 

1 Afterwards Due de la Rochefoucauld, author of the Maximcs. 


Fiesque, 1 and Gaston de Foix were killed ; Marcillac 
and Nemours, wounded. Bussy, for all his outward 
deference, refers to Nemours' conduct, very justly, 
as ' playing the fool '. For himself, having rallied his 
men, he was quite prepared to ward off any further 
attempt made by the enemy ; but Enghien, thinking 
that no more need be required of him, sent a special 
messenger to order him to retire, adding compliments 
which caused as much pride and joy to the recipient as 
if he had taken Mardyck. Next day Bussy, still radiant 
with gratification, was led by the Duke to Monsieur, 
and heard his own exploits described in glowing terms. 
11 His men were drawn up, under fire, only twenty 
paces from the enemy", so Enghien concluded, " and 
I believe he would be there now, if I had not sent to 
fetch him". 

Gaston 's part in the siege was chiefly confined to 
the graceful acknowledgment of such services. The 
fact was being gradually borne in upon him that his 
present position could no longer be held with any pre- 
tence of dignity. He could find no legitimate cause of 
complaint in Enghien 's behaviour towards himself. 
M. le Due had consistently obeyed orders ; he had sub- 
mitted, after the first struggle, to seeing his designs 
sacrificed and his wishes ignored. Yet Gaston, who 
was by no means slow-witted, felt increasingly that his 
own personality was being overwhelmed by Enghien 's 
stronger one ; say or do what he would, it was to M. le 
Due that the whole army instinctively turned for 
guidance. As for La Riviere, he went in daily terror of 
death ; his life was threatened, not so much by the 
enemy, as by his own countrymen. The soldiers hated, 
even more than they despised, him ; they accused him of 
having instigated the siege, as an enterprise involving 
no danger to himself ; and they swore to kill him if 
the Spaniards killed M. le Due. 

Two days after the sortie, Enghien, by an irony of 
fate, was temporarily disabled through the carelessness 
of one of his own men. He was superintending work in 
the trenches when a soldier came past, bearing, after 

1 Franois de Fiesque is referred to by Mademoiselle de Montpensier 
as " le plus sage et le plus devot gentilhomme de la cour ". Madame de 
Motteville says of him : " II fut regrette d'une fille de grande naissance ". 
The lady in question was Mademoiselle d'fipernon, who soon afterwards 
took the veil. 


the casual fashion of his time, his hat, containing a store 
of powder in one hand, and a lighted fuse in the other. 
By some accident probably the man stumbled in his 
haste the fuse was dropped into the hat, and the powder 
exploded. The Duke was so near at the time, that his 
face was severely burnt, and he narrowly escaped 
losing his eyesight. For a fortnight he was condemned 
to a dark room, and bandages ,* but he never for a 
single day omitted to give all directions for carrying 
on the siege- work in his section. Monsieur's jealousy 
was fired 'afresh by the distress and anxiety shown in 
every rank of the army ; and La Riviere, fearing lest 
any injury to the Duke might be visited on him, dared 
not even pay the conventional call of inquiry without 
the protection of the Commander-in-Chief and a large 
retinue. Enghien, chafing in his imprisonment, could 
still be amused when a contemporary journalist or 
* gazetier ' sought to glorify his misfortune by giving 
out that the wound was inflicted by a Spanish grenade ; 
and a sense of humour, quite as much as any regard for 
truth, made him the first to contradict the report. 1 

Towards the end of August, some days before 
Enghien was able to face the light or the open air, 
the long-promised Dutch fleet at length made an 
appearance. The garrison of Mardyck had suffered 
considerably ; and Don Fernando de Solis, seeing the 
port blockaded, surrendered almost unconditionally. 
This triumph put the final touch to Monsieur's decision ; 
he could now, with undiminished credit, return to 
Court and rest serenely on his laurels. Such, at least, 
was his own opinion ; but those of his followers who 
had any real interest in His Royal Highness' reputation, 
saw with regret that M. le Due would now be left in 
sole command of the crowning achievement of the 
campaign. They were forced to console themselves 
with the vain hope that Enghien 's injury, and the 
lateness of the season, might destroy the chance of an 
attempt on Dunkirk. Mazarin, ever watchful against 
any symptoms of friendship between Princes, had 
already written to urge Monsieur's return ; ostensibly 
out of concern for his health. He saw clearly that 
Gaston, however unwillingly, was falling a prey to 
Enghien 's influence ; and the House of Cond was 
sufficiently powerful, in the Cardinal's eyes, without 

1 Bussy-Rabutin, Mkmoires. 


having under its control ' a son of France '. Henri de 
Bourbon, by certain exorbitant claims which he pre- 
ferred, had lately transgressed more gravely than 
ever ; and all Enghien's prestige was needed to save 
the family from disgrace. The point just now at 
issue was once more a question of inheritance. The 
young Due de Breze Armand de Maille, brother of 
the Duchesse d'Enghien had fallen in the naval 
action of Orbetello, 1 fought on June I4th. Breze left 
no direct heir ; and the news of his death was closely 
followed by a peremptory request from Henri de 
Bourbon that the little Due d'Albret, should succeed, 
not only to his estates, but also to any office held by 
the dead man which could be considered hereditary. 
The most coveted of these posts was the honorary one 
of Lord High Admiral (' Amiral de France, surintendant 
de la marine '), which had been bestowed on Breze 
in his early youth by Richelieu. Mazarin was ab- 
solutely determined that this lucrative office should 
not be snatched from him by the most rapacious of 
Princes ; but he lacked courage to bestow it elsewhere, 
and withstood, no less firmly, the pressing demands 
of the Due de Guise. In the end he advised the Queen 
to solve the difficulty by reserving the post for herself. 
Enghien's letters on the subject show unmistakably 
that he was no less prepared than his father to claim 
the succession as a right ; but, unlike that Prince, 
when the claim had been rejected, he was withheld, 
by sheer pride, from proclaiming his grievance abroad. 
To the messenger who brought the news that the 
Queen was making the Admiralty appointment her 
own, he answered " that he was delighted to hear 
it ; for now she would be able to give it to him 
with all the better grace ". Breze was a young 
man of intelligence and courage, and Enghien had 
found him a congenial spirit, little as he had desired 
to be related to him. A letter written by Girard, 
the Duke's secretary, testifies to his having shown 
real personal grief at the loss of his brother-in-law. 
1 Monseigneur le Due gave every sign of having lost 

1 Orbetello, on the coast of Tuscany, was the chief town of a small 
territory held in that province by Spain. Breze had been placed in 
command of a French fleet sent to blockade the coast of this territory, 
while a land force besieged Orbetello. The French were victorious over 
the Spaniards at sea ; but the expedition was unsuccessful, owing to the 
failure of the troops on land. 

1646] THE BRfiZfi INHERITANCE 169 

one who was dear to him ; he spoke in that sense to 
those who are most intimate with him ". As for the 
Queen's refusal, " his prudence and reserve are such 
that he makes mention of it only to very few. These 
matters have allowed him little rest after the continual 
fatigue he has undergone during the siege > '. 1 

Girard's statements, both as to the Duke's grief 
and as to his reticence, are borne out by other witnesses. 
But neither practical nor sentimental regrets could 
divert any great share of Enghien's attention from 
the work he had in hand. His father was soon driven 
to remonstrate with him for his want of zeal in urging 
the family claims, telling him that it was for an affair 
like this that he might make a disturbance at Court, 
and not, as he had once done, by chastising Monsieur's 
servants. Enghien, deeply as he resented Mazarin's 
action, had no intention of quarrelling openly with 
the power which controlled his supplies and reinforce- 
ments. The French army was much reduced by active 
service, and by the unhealthy conditions of the country 
and climate ; it would be almost impossible to secure 
a brilliant close to the campaign without further help. 
La Ferte, the Duke's subordinate at Rocroy, was 
ordered up from the Lorraine frontier ; Coligny, to 
his great joy, was allowed to bring back part of the 
force detached for the Stattholder's service ; and 
English mercenaries were raised and dispatched by a 
French agent stationed at Greenwich. The Queen of 
Poland exerted her newly won influence to supply a 
1 corps d 'elite ' of her subjects, nearly three thousand 
strong. Sirot had charge of these valiant, but half- 
savage warriors, whose barbarous habits caused no 
small amusement ; they camped, not in tents, but in 
holes, which they dug like rabbits in the sand. With 
such troops as these, Mardyck and Bergues were 
garrisoned. Enghien, at the head of the remaining 
force, found two courses open to him : either to re-take 
Menin, which would restore a much-needed line of 
communication with Courtrai ; or to besiege Dunkirk. 
In his own mind there appears to have been no hesita- 
tion ; Dunkirk was his goal. Gaston had no sooner 
set his face towards Paris than M. le Due, barely 
cured of his wound, was at work on a scheme of pre- 
liminary operations. 

1 Girard to Henri, Prince of Conde, A.C., June, 1646. 


Bergues and Mardyck, on the east and south, 
guarded the approaches to Dunkirk ; west, or seawards, 
the Dutch fleet would blockade the port. Furnes, 
to the east, was the only point still to be secured. 
Enghien marched inland from Mardyck to Hondschoote, 
and then turned again towards the coast, describing a 
semicircle. Gassion was detached to ward off Caracena, 
whose force, between Furnes and Nieuport, represented 
the nearest danger. La Ferte, coming up from Lorraine, 
stayed to keep watch between Ypres and Menin. 
North -eastwards, the Stattholder's forces, at the 
mouth of the Scheldt, made another advance, creating 
a powerful diversion. This was the first active measure 
into which Gramont had goaded the Prince of Orange ; 
he writes piteously to the Duke : ' If I were to tell 
you of all the manoeuvres I devised, and all the troubles 
I have gone through, I should write a book instead of 
a letter". 1 Enghien came to Furnes in the early 
days of September ; skirmishing, now and again, on 
the march, with Caracena. The town, less valuable 
as a fortress than as a strategical position, capitulated 
within a week. While the French troops worked 
to strengthen the fortifications, Enghien summoned a 
council of war, and now, for the first time, formally 
proposed the investment of Dunkirk. As when, at 
Fribourg, he had suggested closing the campaign by 
the conquest of the Rhine, his scheme met with opposi- 
tion, even from his staunches t followers ; Coligny and 
La Moussaye were among those who pronounced 
against it ; advising instead, as a final achievement, 
the capture of Menin. They argued the lateness of 
the season, the diminished strength of the troops, and 
advantage of securing, through Menin, the passage of 
the Lys. But, as at Fribourg, Enghien persisted ; 
Monsieur and La Riviere were safe in Paris, and he 
was once more in his element. " It seemed to him ", 
he said, " a glorious work to carry out an enterprise 
which had been contemplated since the beginning of 
the war, but which no one, as yet, had ventured to 
undertake ". When each member of the council had 
given his opinion, and a strong majority had declared 
in favour of the expedition to Menin, M. le Due gave 
his own decision ; namely, to proceed with the siege 
of Dunkirk, subject to the pleasure of the King. La 

1 A.C., 1646. 


Moussaye accordingly departed for Paris to submit 
the scheme for approval ; Enghien, who considered 
this measure as purely formal, did not wait for his 
return to set active preparation on foot. 

Furnes was garrisoned, provisioned, and converted 
into a French base of supplies. On September ipth, 
Dunkirk was invested. The zone of investment was 
divided in two sections : one under the two Marshals, 
Gassion and Rantzau, and the other under the Duke ; 
farther from the town, a third force was stationed, 
to bar the way between Bergues and Mardyck. Enghien, 
well seconded by his Marshals, went about his task 
with fierce, untiring energy and determination. Dun- 
kirk had been newly and strongly fortified by the 
Spaniards during the past five years ; and it was 
now held by Guillaume de Lede, a Flemish veteran 
skilled in all the arts of defence. The French army 
had to contend not only with the garrison and forti- 
fications, but also with the difficulty of conducting 
siege operations over an open surface of sand and water ; 
and, lastly, with the elements themselves. The great 
heat had been followed by an autumn of storm and 
tempest ; and to the besieging force, encamped with 
little protection among the sand-hills, it seemed that 
the rain never ceased to fall, nor the winds to blow. 
The officers sent to Paris for winter clothes ; the men 
were forced to endure as best they might, and among 
the foreign troops desertions were frequent. " Madame 
is sending you your furred cloak ", Dalmas, the 
Princess's secretary, writes to M. le Due, " but she 
hopes that it may not be needed ; that is to say, she 
hopes that Your Highness will have returned before 
the cold obliges you to wear it n . 1 

In the teeth of storms the siege-works were con- 
structed ; the sand artificially strengthened, and over- 
laid with sods of turf. Along the sea-front, where men 
or boats might pass, according to the height of the 
tide, a stockade was planted, with the stakes just 
separated, to lessen the shock of the waves ; and 
inland, a still harder task, the dykes were repaired 
where the Spaniards had broken them, hoping to flood 
out their enemies. Enghien, in the words of a con- 
temporary, " superintended, as his custom was, all these 
diverse operations, leaving nothing without his care ; 

*A.C., 1646. 


cheerful and assured in spirit, as his countenance 
showed", 1 though the mention of more than one 
hairbreadth escape reached Paris, to destroy the repose 
of the Hotel de Conde. In four days' time the trenches 
were opened, the stockade almost completed, and the 
dykes secure. Three definite attempts at a relief 
were made, and repulsed. Beck and Caracena failed 
to force a passage by Furnes on September 3oth. The 
second attempt was made by sea, at high tide, when 
the enemy's ships were overwhelmed by the Dutch 
fleet ; and the third, at low water, from the sands. 
Here the stockade proved its value ; the fire from 
behind it drove back the Spaniards, while the rising 
tide prevented them from renewing the attack. Yet, 
in spite of the enemy's greater activity, the losses, as 
a whole, were less severe than at Mardyck. With 
Monsieur's departure, a more responsible spirit seemed 
to have fallen on the army, and though equal courage 
was shown on all hands, there were fewer instances of 
sheer foolhardiness. Those w r ho fell, lost their lives, 
not in sport, but in legitimate enterprise. The later 
days of the siege were marked, tragically, by the death 
of two ' damoiseaux ', both of the inner circle of Chan- 
tilly ; one, the son of Madame de Sable, Guy de Laval, 
whom some called " as handsome a man as any in 
France " ; the other, Guy-Aldonce de Chabot, youngest 
of the three Chabot brothers. Of Laval, his friends 
have recorded that he found it hard to die ; he did not 
fear death, but he regretted life, and felt himself de- 
frauded of long years of happiness. Chabot, mortally 
wounded, met his end unflinching : " Pour luy ", says 
Sarasin, the first historian of the siege, " il temoigna 
une grande Constance en sa mort ; qu'il vit venir avec 
fierte, et qu'il recut en la meprisant ". 

The death of Chabot befell on the very eve of sur- 
render. Guillaume de Lede had prolonged the defence 
till the end of the first week in October ; by which 
time the besieging force had carried the trenches up 
to his counterscarp, and were setting to work on mines. 
The repeated failure of Beck and the Spanish Generals, 
convinced him that there was no hope of saving the 
town ; but he knew that the French army had no 
strength to spare, and applied himself in good time 
to securing favourable terms. On October 7th an 

1 Sarasin, Histoire du si&ge de Dunquerque. 


envoy, Don Jacinto de Vera, was sent to parley with 
the Duke. In the case of immediate surrender, Enghien 
promised the garrison all the honours of war, and agreed, 
further, that all prisoners taken during the siege 
on either side should be returned. These conditions, 
it must be observed, involved no great sacrifice on the 
French side ; for the safe-conduct and support .of 
prisoners in an enemy's country was at times a heavy 
charge. If the resistance were prolonged further, these 
promises would be retracted ; the whole garrison 
should be prisoners, and need expect no mercy. Don 
Jacinto was believed, by some of Enghien 's officers, 
to have private reasons for wishing to avoid captivity ; 
he was said to have been once before a prisoner in 
French hands, and to have escaped by breaking his 
parole. Enghien sent the Comte de Palluau to escort 
him back to the town, with instructions to frighten 
him as much as possible on the way, by dwelling on 
the severe treatment which might be in store for him. 
Either his eloquence, or the native prudence of the 
Governor prevailed ; the articles of capitulation were 
signed, and the Spanish garrison marched out of 
Dunkirk on the morning of October i2th. 

Enghien waited outside the gates, and gave the 
departing Governor a courteous reception. They stood 
together to see the Spaniards pass out on their way 
to Nieuport, and the French garrison march in with 
colours flying ; and there were some present who noticed 
that Guillaume de Lede looked neither at the French 
nor at the Spanish forces, but kept his eyes fixed on 
the young man by his side, whom he watched as 
though fascinated. With the Duke were Rantzau, 
Gassion, and all his principal officers ; Rantzau already 
cherishing the hope of succeeding Guillaume de Lede 
as a Governor ; Gassion, in a far less satisfied frame of 
mind. His relations with Enghien had of late become 
increasingly strained, probably through faults on both 
sides. M. le Due was imperious, as only a Prince of 
his time could be ; Gassion, for his part, was apt to 
forget that three years had passed since Rocroy, and 
that he was serving, not with an inexperienced youth, 
but with a commander whose reputation was one of 
the first in Europe. More than once the Marshal had 
transgressed in smaller matters of discipline and eti- 
quette ; and Enghien 's patience, at no time to be much 


depended on, was stretched almost to breaking-point. 
Before they parted, he inquired of Guillaume de Lede 
whether all the Spanish prisoners had been duly re- 
turned ; and was told, to his indignation, that six had 
been kept back. Who was responsible for this breach 
of the conditions? Gassion 's name was mentioned, 
and Enghien then and there peremptorily demanded 
an explanation. Gassion 's answer, not too respectful, 
was to the effect that he had acted as he thought best. 
The Duke turned upon him : " Give up your prisoners, 
M. de Gassion ! When I give an order I mean it to be 
obeyed ; and you shall obey me, as much as if you 
were the lowest rascal of a soldier in the army". The 
Marshal, if he did not actually retort, was scarcely less 
angry than his Commander-in-Chief. For the short 
remainder of the campaign he continued in a state 
verging on insubordination, but just short of open 
disobedience. Enghien, as might be expected, did 
not spare references to the " Gascon corporal, who 
thinks himself a great man " ; but he never entirely 
lost sight of Gassion's true worth ; and when the heat 
of his anger was past he repented, and spoke of him 
again in terms of high praise. Possibly, in time, their 
common enthusiasm might have drawn them together 
once more. But Gassion was not destined to serve 
another campaign with the Duke ; a year later, at the 
siege of Lens, he died, as he had lived, fighting. He 
was buried in Notre-Dame with the pomp due to a 
Marshal of France ; as splendid in death as he had 
been uncourtly in life. Richelieu, who held him in 
great esteem, had once summed up his personality in 
the fewest words : " Bertrand du Guesclin; only not 
quite so ill-looking". 

The fall of Dunkirk was loudly acclaimed in Paris, 
and was followed by the usual shower of congratulations 
to M. le Due. Corneille, in the dedicatory preface to 
his tragedy of Rodogune (published 1646), refers in 
hyperbolical language to the siege as to the Duke's 
greatest exploit. " Forgive me, Monseigneur, if I say 
little to you of Dunkirk ; the powers of imagination 
are exhausted, and I can find no words adequate to the 
dignity of that great achievement ; the ancient haunt of 
pirates is ours, and the command of the seas is assured 
to us". 

Enghien was forced to spend nearly a month in dis- 


posing the final affairs of the campaign ; re-victualling 
garrisons and providing winter quarters for the troops. 
This done, he "set out in haste for Chantilly. Urgent 
letters had reached him ; Henri de Bourbon, conscious 
of failing physical strength, and beset by fears lest any 
family advantage should escape him, felt more than 
ever the need of his son's presence and support. The 
glory of Dunkirk was far from consoling him for the loss 
of Breze's appointment ; he must consult with Enghien 
upon that and other matters, seriously and undis- 
turbed. " My objection to Chantilly (as a meeting- 
place) ", he writes, " is that so many women are likely 
to be there, besides others who would disturb our 
conversation ; but I will do my best to prevent them 
from coming, and shall look forward with great joy to 
seeing you "- 1 When M. le Due arrived at Chantilly 
on November nth, his father had only a few weeks to 
live. To the last, the Prince directed all the affairs of 
his family and household, down to the minutest detail ; 
and he died " Christianly, and like a good Catholic ", 
after bestowing much admirable, and indeed prophetic, 
advice on his sons and daughter. He begged them 
never to forget their duty to their King ; there could be 
no greater misfortune, he added, for a Prince of the 
Blood, than to set himself in opposition to the throne ; 
such a one could only end by losing a splendid position, 
and becoming the slave of his own followers. One 
great solace was reserved for his last moments. On 
the day of his death December 28th the Duchesse 
d 'Orleans gave birth to her second daughter ; and this 
news brought an almost religious joy to the dying man, 
in the certainty that his own son would succeed him, 
not only in the family honours, but also as ' First Prince 
of the Blood '. The arbitrary rule which governed the 
possession of this title was such, that a son born to 
Monsieur in the lifetime of Henri de Bourbon, would 
have wrested it from the Prince's heirs. Now, it was 
safe ; for the title, once held, could only pass at the 
death of its bearer. Louis n de Bourbon, Prince of 
Conde, would carry it to the grave. 

Few men have been less regretted, for their 
own sakes, than Henri de Bourbon. Yet there were 
some far-seeing persons who lamented him ; partly 
for his loyalty to the Crown, which was unfailing, 

^A.C., November 8, 1646. 


though not disinterested ; and still more for the unique 
power which he had possessed of controlling the Duke, 
his son. In that respect the loss was irreparable. 
M. le Due had never passed altogether beyond parental 
authority ; but the upholders of law and order, looking 
into the immediate future, could find no external 
influence likely to act as a check on M. le Prince. 




To the Queen-Regent and her Ministers, Conde, entering 
upon his inheritance, seemed to stand like the angel of 
the Scriptures, having a drawn sword in his hand, 
stretched out over the city. War was his element ; the 
moment he was withdrawn from active service abroad, 
his very existence became a danger to the State. To 
Mazarin, in particular, he was an object of acute 
personal fear and dislike. M. le Prince returned the 
dislike, with interest ; but he feared Mazarin no more 
than he feared any other living being ; and in that 
respect, was ill-advised. Two superior powers he had 
owned ; his father's, and that of a Bourbon King. Of 
these, the first had been withdrawn in the course of 
nature ; while the second was in abeyance, so long as 
the Royal authority was represented by a foreign 
Regent and her favourite Minister. The, idea that he, 
Conde, a Bourbon, and First Prince of the Blood, should 
be swayed by any regard for a low-born ecclesiastic, a 
man whom he knew to be, physically, a coward, appeared 
to him nothing short of preposterous. Yet if the long 
duel between them ended, after many years, in the 
Cardinal's victory, it was largely because the ( Signor 
Giulio ', as Parisians called him, had too much wisdom 
to despise his enemies. Conde, in military matters a 
genius, and on most points a man of more than average 
attainments, still fell a victim to that deadly intel- 
lectual anaesthetic, the Bourbon pride of race. He 
could never, like some of his later kinsfolk, be reduced 
by it to a state of positive dullness and apathy ; but its 



effects on such a temperament as his were none the 
less apparent in an utter want of self-control, and a 
warped sense of proportion. 

Certain passages with his father and with Richelieu, 
to say nothing of his more recent dealings with Monsieur, 
show clearly enough that he was well able to rule his 
own spirit when he chose ; and so long as he was in any 
sense a dependent, he used this power, from time to 
time, as a matter of policy. But with the death of the 
elder Prince even this superficial control vanishes. 
Conde, believing firmly that the present state of affairs 
made him answerable to no one, gave himself up more 
and more to the impulses of the moment ; undermining 
his hold over himself, and also, just as surely, his power 
over others. Only his soldier's instinct remained un- 
touched ; stronger than any other influence, for good 
or evil, from within or without ; at times a guide and 
a restraint, when all other principles had failed. In 
private and civil matters the weaker side of his nature 
came increasingly into play, passionate and unbalanced ; 
acting on a highly-strung nervous system, which had 
been overtaxed from childhood. Mazarin noted it ; 
and learned in time to spread his nets accordingly. 

Retz and La Rochefoucald, observers as shrewd, 
though less hostile, were equally alive to the Prince's 
failings, and recorded them impartially. " All heroes ", 
says the Coadjutor, " have their weak points ; that of 
M. le Prince was a lack of order and discipline, in one 
of the finest intellects in the world ". 1 La Rochefou- 
cauld is even more emphatic : " A genius like that of M. 
le Prince produces great virtues, but also great defects. 
He was incapable of moderation ; and by the want of 
it he destroyed all those advantages which nature and 
good fortune had heaped upon him ; yet if piety, justice, 
and steadfastness had been joined, in due proportion, 
to the personal valour, the courage in adversity, and the 
fine intellectual qualities which were to be observed in 
him, these same advantages would have won him a 
reputation more glorious than that of any great man in 
the past ". 2 

Among his own near relations, M. le Prince had, 
so far, no opposition to fear. To the Princess Dowager, 
he was henceforth less a son than head of their House. 
Madame de Longueville, dutifully following her husband 

1 Reta, Memoires. 2 La Rochefoucauld, Mtmoires. 


to Miinster, had not yet developed interests apart from 
those of her family. Armand, Prince of Conti, at 
seventeen, was still in the hands of his tutors, the Jesuit 
fathers ; a delicate boy, slightly deformed, he gave 
no promise as a soldier, and had been destined for Holy 
Orders. Conde and his young brother had not often 
appeared together in public, but they were both 
conspicuous figures when the obsequies of Henri de 
Bourbon were celebrated in Notre-Dame ; and the 
Bishop of Dole, who pronounced the funeral oration, 
was inspired by the sight to compare them, prophetic- 
ally, to pillars of cloud and fire, like those which led 
the children of Israel ; one guiding the Church, and one 
the State. Two other points were especially noted 
during that long and imposing ceremony ; firstly, the 
flippant comment made by an observer, that so much 
needless expense must be causing great annoyance to 
the departed soul ; secondly, the unconcealed elation 
of the whole Conde faction over their late triumph in 
securing the title of ' First Prince '. Monsieur, the 
father of a third daughter, watched enviously when the 
heir of the House of Conde, the new * M. le Due ', now 
three years old, was led forward to take his part and to 
sprinkle holy water at the lying-in-state. 

Conde inherited from his father, besides his princely 
honours, four ducal titles, Enghien, Albret, Chateau- 
roux, and Bellegarde ; any of which he was free to bestow 
as he liked on his descendants. The additional title of 
Due de Montmorency he assumed in right of his mother, 
and that of Due de Fronsac in right of his wife. More 
profitable, from a practical standpoint, were the various 
public posts to which he succeeded : the ' Grand Master- 
ship of France ', a kind of honorary Lord Chamberlain's 
office ; and the Governorships of Berry, Burgundy, and 
Bresse. The post of Governor in Champagne and Brie, 
which he had formerly held, passed to his brother of 
Conti ; and the smaller province of Clermontois had 
been granted him by the Queen as a compensation for 
the refusal of the Admiralty appointment. The sight 
of so much power in the hands of a subject, and that 
subject M. le Prince, might well be appalling to any 
Minister. Mazarin had not ; as yet, gauged Conde's 
political weakness ; his one thought was how best to 
find employment for this incarnate spirit of discord, 
as far as possible from the seat of government. The 

i8o LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

Prince, it appears, had already proposed a scheme which 
would certainly have engrossed all his energies for the 
time being ; but which, nevertheless, was scarcely 
likely to be approved by Queen or Cardinal. He sug- 
gested nothing less than that he should be given a force 
strong enough to drive the Imperial troops out of the 
frontier province of Franche-Comte ; and that this 
same province should then be handed over to him as 
an independent sovereignty. Mazarin, mindful of past 
relations between France and the Duchies of Lorraine 
and Burgundy, urged the Queen to refuse her consent 
to any such design. Instead, he offered Conde the high- 
sounding title, ' Viceroy of Catalonia ' ; together with 
the command of the French troops beyond the Pyrenees. 
' Les Trois Bras ', as they were called, otherwise the 
united provinces of Catalonia, Cerdagne, and Roussillon, 
had for some time past been a thorn in the side of 
France. In the year 1640, when Richelieu's power 
was at its height, these border states had deliberately 
yielded themselves to the French Crown after a dispute 
with the Spanish Government over certain privileges of 
independence. Latterly they had shown discontent 
under the new rule, and were inclined to offer less re- 
sistance to Spanish encroachments on their territory. 
Roussillon had been definitely conquered for France ; 
but in Catalonia the Spaniards were gaining ground. 
Three great fortresses were now in their possession : 
Tortosa, Lerida, and Tarragona. The last Viceroy, 
Henri de Lorraine, Comte d 'Harcourt, fresh from 
victories in Piedmont, had opened his reign with success. 
The Spaniards were beaten at Llorens, and forced to 
surrender the towns of Flix and Balaguer ; but in 
November, 1646, Harcourt in his turn was severely 
defeated before the famous rock- fortress of Lerida ; 
where another French Commander, La Mothe-Houdan- 
court, had suffered in like manner four years earlier. 
Harcourt, till now a favourite of fortune, was plunged by 
his reverse into deep disfavour at Court. The punish- 
ment was scarcely deserved, for Mazarin had, as usual, 
failed signally to keep his word in the matter of rein- 
forcements ; but the loss of Lerida was a sore point 
with the French Government, and this second failure 
was mercilessly censured ; till the unfortunate Viceroy 
resigned in haste, and returned to Paris, hoping by 
his presence to protect some shreds of his reputation. 


Almost his only defender was M. le Prince, whose 
respect for his profession rebelled against an injustice 
done by civilians to a soldier of Harcourt's undoubted 
worth ; and who made use of his new capacity as a 
member of the Queen- Regent's Council to point out 
forcibly that many of those who gave their opinion on 
the subject " had never seen war except in pictures "^ 
This discussion took place in December, 1646. A few 
weeks later it was proposed that Conde himself should 
be Harcourt's successor. There was much that appealed 
to him in the suggestion ; above all, perhaps, the thought 
that, though others might fail before Lerida, the con- 
queror of Dunkirk must surely succeed. The prospect 
was irresistible ; M. le Prince consented, despite the 
advice of some of his best friends, who were inclined to 
mistrust any scheme strongly advocated by Mazarin. 
The news that a Prince of Conde's rank and reputation 
was to be sent them as Viceroy was hailed with 
acclamation by the Catalans ; and the messenger who 
brought the first word to Barcelona was rewarded with 
a gold chain, the gift of the citizens. 

The Prince was forced to spend some months in 
conventional seclusion after his father's death ; a time 
which he employed in disposing all family matters 
as far as possible to suit his own taste and convenience. 
One duty of friendship he fulfilled at about this time, 
in standing godfather to the infant daughter of 'La 
Palatine ' ; the same little Princess who, some sixteen 
years later, became his daughter-in-law. 2 The Queen 
of Poland, who stood godmother by proxy, writes to 
him of " our spiritual alliance, through the baptism of my 
little niece ". 3 During the winter M. le Prince re- 
organised his own household, as well as those of his son 
and of his brother. Certain changes among his personal 
suite were by no means for the better. Tourville, whose 
appointment as ' premier gentilhomme de la chambre ' 
dated from the days of Richelieu, was now dismissed, 
after five years' faithful service, either as the result of 
some disagreement, or possibly through failing health ; 
he died shortly afterwards. His successor, the Chevalier 
de Riviere, not to be confused with Monsieur's 
favourite, was one of those adventurers who might 

1 Bibliotheque de la Haye ; Lettres de Wicquefort. See Due d'Aumale. 

2 Anne-Marie of Bavaria ; married, 1663, Henri- Jules, Due d'Enghien. 
3 A,C., January 7, 1647. 

1 82 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

always be found haunting the Court, ready to serve 
any man of rank and position for payment, and to do 
any work for him which he was ashamed to do for 
himself. Riviere had obtained favour with Conde 
by the usual means ; he had fought bravely at Rocroy 
and elsewhere, and had shown himself equally ready 
to discuss theology, to compose light satiric verse, 
or to transact doubtful negotiations with skill and 
secrecy. He and his master had no illusions respecting 
each other. Conde needed a tool, with brains and with- 
out a conscience, and found Riviere ready to his hand ; 
Riviere needed money, and vanished from the scene 
when the Prince's fortunes were impaired by the Fronde. 
The secretaries and confidential agents of the House of 
Conde, such as Lenet, Girard, and Perrault his brother- 
in-law, were maintained in their office. It was said 
that the Princess Dowager ventured to remonstrate in 
the case of Perrault, whom she mistrusted ; but the 
Prince, finding that he had knowledge enough to be 
useful, cared for nothing else. 

The last weeks of his retirement Conde spent in 
visiting the estates in Berry and Burgundy, and 
receiving the oath of fealty, which was still formally 
pledged by the inhabitants. Before setting out on 
his Spanish venture, he returned to Paris to take leave 
of the Queen, and receive a few final instructions. 
The appearance at Court of M. le Prince, the first 
subject in the Kingdom next to the Royal Princes, 
aroused excitement for many reasons. Ever since 
the episode of Marthe du Vigean had been definitely 
closed, the most undisguised curiosity had been shown, 
on all hands, as to the possibility of a successor ; and 
a further stimulus was given by Conde 's attitude of 
ostentatious indifference to ' affairs of the heart '. 
Madame de Motteville gives a life-like sketch of him 
as he impressed her at this juncture ; with no pre- 
tensions to good looks, yet always distinguished by 
' a certain pride and greatness ' in his air, and by the 
grace of his figure and movements. But, she adds, he 
was too thin and haggard to become the deep 
mourning which he still wore ; and to the details of 
his personal appearance he paid as little attention as 
ever. Nevertheless, he was an object of the keenest 
interest to more than one lady of the Court ; even 
Madame de Montbazon, it was rumoured, had made offers 


of friendship to Madame de Longueville, in the hope of 
using the sister's good graces as a stepping-stone to 
those of the brother. M. le Prince resisted all advances 
for some time ; but, only a few days before he left 
Paris, he was seen at Court better dressed than usual 
a nine days' wonder, giving rise to a storm of gossip 
and conjecture. The miracle was found to have been 
worked by his sudden admiration for a very beautiful 
girl, Louise de Prie ; called, from her father's title, 
Mademoiselle de Toussy. For a moment his fancy 
was caught ; of any deeper feeling, there was no 
question. While the Prince departed for Spain, the 
matter was left in the practised hands of the Chevalier 
de Riviere, who entered on an incredibly sordid 
dispute with the girl's parents as to what solid ad- 
vantage they might hope to gain if their daughter 
should please His Highness. Before they could be 
satisfied, campaigning had driven all thoughts of Louise 
de Prie from Conde's mind, and the affair was dropped. 
No reputation seems to have suffered ; some of the 
persons concerned had little or none to lose. Made- 
moiselle de Toussy married, not long afterwards, 
La Mothe-Houdancourt, Due de Cardone and Marshal 
of France ; and played her part as a Duchess with 
great dignity and circumspection. 

The citizens of Barcelona were warned that their 
new Viceroy would arrive in April. Conde travelled 
with his usual haste, and without any regard for the 
elaborate preparations which were being made for a 
State entry. He rode into the town some days before 
he was expected, in travelling dress, and with a small 
escort, to the surprise and disappointment of a people 
used to the solemn spendour and deliberate methods 
of Spanish Royalty. This first glimpse of their ruler 
showed only that he was simply, not to say shabbily, 
dressed in black ; that he looked very young, very 
thin, and very untidy ; and there were some among 
them who exclaimed that here, surely, was nothing 
but a college student : ' Es un estudiante ! ' Conde 
was duly informed of the criticism ; and determined, 
forthwith, to prove that a French Prince, if he thought 
fit to make a display, was not to be outdone in 
magnificence by any Spaniard. He organised a 
tournament, or ' carrousel ', in which his staff and 
all his principal officers rode in procession ; rnen and 

1 84 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

horses covered with gold embroidery and trappings. 
As for M. le Prince, his aspect in a suit of cloth of gold, 
sewn with pearls, so impressed the Catalans that they 
declared no hero had ever borne his part with a better 
grace. His followers came in for a share of the general 
admiration. Coligny, now Due de Chatillon, 1 was 
foremost among them, and neither he nor Gramont 
were at any time figures to be easily overlooked. 
Least noted of the whole group, by reason of his youth 
and his small stature, was the Comte de Boutteville, 
known familiarly as ' le petit Frangois ' ; who, as the 
Marshal de Luxembourg was one day to outshine them 
all, with the exception of Conde himself. Boutteville 
had many qualities, good and bad, in common with his 
cousin the Prince, whom he looked on as the greatest of 
heroes ; and it was Conde's insistence which had prevailed 
on Madame de Boutteville to allow her only son to enrol 
himself as a ' volontaire ' and set out on his first campaign. 
The ' carrousel ' having achieved its object, Conde 
was able to give undivided attention to the three 
courses which now lay open to him, all sanctioned by 
the French Government. He might choose either the 
siege of Tarragona on the sea-board ; or the siege of 
Lerida ; or a march on Fraga, across the borders of 
the province, and the invasion of Aragon. All these 
designs are fully discussed in Conde's correspondence 
with Le Tellier, the Minister for War. The attack on 
Tarragona was first considered ; and dismissed, owing 
to the inefficient state of the French fleet in the Mediter- 
ranean. The Court Muses had already foretold a great 
naval victory, by which all Spain was to be subdued : 

" Desja je vois cent f regales, 
Peintes de nos Fleurs de Lys, 
Vers les costes de Calls 
Porter ces braves Pirates. 
Je les vois dessus nos bords 
Exposer tous les tresors 
Que Tlbere aux Indes pille ; 
Et remorquer les grands corps 
Des galions de Seville". 2 

Unfortunately, these invincible seamen and their 
frigates existed only in the poet's imagination. The 
officer nominally in command of the fleet was a boy 

1 His father, the Marechal-Duc de Chatillon, had died in December, 1646. 

2 Sarrasin : ' Ode sur la prise de Dunquerque ', 1647. 


of eighteen, Armand de Vignerot, Due de Richelieu, 1 
lately promoted, through family interest, to the post 
of ' General des Galeres '. The title, as may be 
supposed, was purely honorary, and the young 
Admiral's subordinates acted, for the most part, 
according to their own good pleasure. The fleet, under 
their direction, manoeuvred uncertainly, sometimes off 
the Spanish coast, sometimes as far east as Toulon ; 
a state of affairs described by Gramont as ' devilish ', 
since it would be useless to attempt the siege of 
Tarragona by land unless the blockade of the port 
could be vigorously undertaken at the same time. 
Conde, no doubt, was tempted by the prospect of the 
march on Fraga ; for the Spanish forces were con- 
centrating in the plains of Aragon, and there would 
be reasonable hopes of a pitched battle. On the other 
hand, the country round Fraga was admitted by the 
Spaniards themselves to be scarcely better than a 
desert ; there was no sufficient base of supplies on 
the Catalonian border ; and the Prince could not hide 
from himself the fact that his army, once surrounded 
by that arid waste, would run great risk of perishing 
from sheer want. If Lerida could be conquered, and 
used as a French base of supplies, then an advance 
into Aragon, and even on Saragossa itself, might be 
contemplated ; therefore it was on Lerida that M. le 
Prince resolved to direct his first effort. 

Writing to Le Tellier on May ist, Conde estimates 
the strength of the French infantry at seven thousand. 
To these were added another three thousand, mustered, 
with great effort, on the spot, and including some 
hundreds of recruits, besides the fragments of 
Harcourt's army. The cavalry numbered about four 
thousand. The Prince declares himself in despair at 
having been inactive so long ; but the situation in 
Barcelona called for immediate attention. The stores 
of ammunition, the provisions, and the artillery which 
he had been led to expect, were nowhere forthcoming ; 
scarcely any money had been sent him to satisfy the 
clamorous demands of the troops ; and, above all, 
there was considerable disaffection among the leading 
citizens to be dealt with. French rule was not proving 
much more congenial than Spanish ; once more their 
cherished privileges were threatened : " The Catalans, 

1 Great-nephew of the Cardinal, 

1 86 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

on the whole, are loyal ", wrote the Prince ; " they 
hate the enemy, but they love no one as well as them- 
selves ; and it would be highly inexpedient to neglect 
their interests ". It was not till May 8th that the 
French army, now fourteen thousand strong, at last 
set forth, marching by Notre- Dame de Montserrat and 
Cervera, to arrive three days later at Lerida. 

Conde, as he took up his position and confronted 
the rock, felt that the city challenged him from its 
height, almost like a human opponent ; an enemy of 
whose fame he had long heard, and with whom he, in 
turn, was come to try his strength. Not only were 
the failures of La Mothe and Harcourt fresh in his 
mind, but, true to his reputation as a scholar, he had 
studied diligently the history of the Roman legions 
in Spain, and both the Commentaries and the 
Pharsalia went with him through the campaign. 
The rock of Lerida stands out from a mountain slope 
overlooking the western bank of the Segre River ; a 
magnificent natural fortress, crowned by the citadel. 
Within the walls was a garrison of four thousand men, 
commanded by Don Gregorio Brito, a gentleman of 
the Spanish school, courteous in word, relentless in 
deed. The city was invested on May i3th, and the 
zone of investment divided in two sections ; that on 
the right under Gramont ; that on the left under the 
Prince. Nearer the river's bank, Marsin, with a strong 
detachment, was posted, to guard against the approach 
of relief. The Segre was bridged, to ensure a line of 
communication ; though the work, with the river in 
flood, was one of some difficulty. The tracing of the 
lines was interrupted by an occasional sortie, and 
also, at intervals, by the enemy's fire. After one such 
encounter, Brito sent back a French officer who had 
fallen into his hands, with a message that " though 
possibly His Highness might not find the taking of 
Lerida an easy task, yet at least he (Brito) would have 
the advantage, in which he considered himself supremely 
honoured, of disputing the victory with the most 
renowned Prince in Christendom ". Further, this 
mirror of courtesy never omitted, when the fighting 
had been particularly severe, to send two small negro 
pages, bearing lemonade and sherbet to the Prince 
;< to refresh him after the fatigues of the day ". 1 
1 Mbmoires du Marechal-Duc de Gramont. 


The trenches on the north side of the town were 
opened on May 27th, a much-discussed occasion, 
when Conde is reported to have sent his ' petits violons ' 
to play before the regiment of Champagne, whose men 
were to begin the work. To open a trench to the 
sound of violins might, in any case, be considered a 
frivolous proceeding ; judged in the light of after 
events, it has been since condemned as a wholly un- 
justifiable piece of bravado. Conde was not, as a rule, 
guilty of ' fanfaronnade ' in military matters ; but he 
was used to being a law unto himself ; and if the idea 
pleased him for the moment, no respect for convention 
would have prevented his carrying it out. It must be 
added, however, that neither Bussy, Gramont, nor 
Chavagnac, all eye-witnesses in describing the opening 
of the trench, makes any mention of the musicians ; 1 
though none of the three would have been likely to 
withhold the incident as discreditable. Other records 
show that the use of these ' petits violons ' in warfare, 
however inappropriate, was by no means unknown ; 
so it is possible that their presence if present they 
were was more or less justified by custom. 

At Lerida, as at Dunkirk, the forces of nature 
were on the side of the enemy. In Flanders the allies 
of the Spaniards were the sand, the sea, and the rain ; 
here, in Catalonia, the rock and the sun. For the first 
week or two there seemed to be a fair prospect of 
Conde's success. He knew that he was working against 
time, and that the delay at Barcelona was irreparable ; 
that Lerida, if it was ever to be his, must fall before the 
summer heats had begun, and before the Spanish General, 
Aytona, could assemble an army at Fraga to march to 
its relief. Worst of all, he knew that his hold over 
part of his own force was uncertain ; the Catalonian 
recruits were half Spanish in their sympathies, and 
months had passed since they last received payment 
from the French Government. Still, so far, he had 
never known failure ; and come what might, his own 
courage and energy were invincible. The work in the 
trenches went vigorously forward ; Marsin, Arnauld, 
La Moussaye, and the host of the ' petits-maitres ' 
relieved each other on guard, and divided their time 
between fighting and revelry; M. le Prince among the 

1 The statement with regard to ' les petits violons ' appears to have been 
first published in the Histoire du Prince de Conde, by Pierre Coste, 1693. 

1 88 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

foremost in both pursuits. His section of investment 
included the ruins of a church, long since disused for 
any sacred rites ; and it was here that the officers of 
the regiments guarding the trenches met and made 
merry. La Valliere, 1 an engineer of repute, and chief 
director of the siege- works, was one of many who went 
straight to death from the midst of such a gathering. 
He was entertaining some half-dozen of his friends, 
mostly members of the Prince's staff, when La Trousse, 
the officer about to relieve guard, came in for some 
instructions. Seeing the festivity at its height, he 
called to La Valliere : " Finish the bottle, mon cama- 
rade, why should I disturb you?" La Valliere, how- 
ever, knew his duty better, and they went out together. 
A moment later, one of the servants who had followed 
them came back, crying out that his master was killed. 
La Trousse, from sheer carelessness, was in the habit of 
making his rounds outside the trenches, instead of 
under cover ; and La Valliere, standing near, and talking 
to him, had been hit by a shot from the walls. The 
guests, it was remarked, " all finished dining as though 
nothing had happened " ; 2 with the exception of one 
Jumeaux, ' marechal de bataille ', who instantly left 
the table to go and ask M. le Prince for a post which 
had been promised to La Valliere shortly before his 

The day following this misfortune (June 6th), a 
determined sortie was made by the enemy on Conde's 
section. As at Mardyck, the Swiss regiments at the 
head of the trenches gave way and fled ; Arnauld, 
trying to check the rout, was taken prisoner. The 
Prince, called from a carouse in Marsin's quarters, 
came up with Balthazar, a famous Rhenish soldier of 
fortune, and drove the fugitives back to their post, 
literally at the point of the sword. Arnauld was 
rescued and the Spaniards were repulsed ; but ^Conde, to 
mark his displeasure, banished the Swiss regiments to 
the rear of the trenches, where they remained in disgrace 
till another effort on Brito's part gave them an oppor- 
tunity of reinstating themselves. This second sortie 
took place on June nth ; again the enemy were beaten 
back, and again both sides suffered heavy losses. At 
the moment when the alarm was given, Conde had 

1 Brother to the La Valliere who played an indifferent part at Rocroy. 

2 Bussy-Rabutin, Mimoives, 


ridden down to the bridge over the Segre with a small 
escort, of whom Bussy was one ; and a recollection 
of the lightning speed with which M. le Prince, at the 
first sound of a musket shot, gave four separate orders 
to the four officers who were with him, and set off 
himself towards the head of the trenches, moves the 
Count to forget all subsequent quarrels and give way 
to a burst of enthusiasm : " The Prince's talent for 
warfare passed all imagination ; his energy, his presence 
of mind, his judgment, and his courage, reached the 
highest point to which these qualities can be carried 'V 

The French held their own in hand-to-hand fighting 
whenever it occurred ; but, as most of their officers 
knew only too well, these encounters were not the 
most important feature of the siege ; and meanwhile, 
the work in the mines, which was of far more real 
consequence, advanced but slowly. The task was 
desperate ; all excavations, after the first, had to be 
made in the bed rock. The increasing heat had helped 
to cause illness in the camp ; no further sum had been 
forwarded for the men's payment, and the Catalans 
were deserting by hundreds. On June 5th, Conde 
had written to Mazarin that the Spaniards were 
assembling in force at Fraga " if they come further, 
we will try and prevent them from beating us ". Since 
then had followed the death of La Valliere ; and 
lastly, the discovery that all mining operations would 
be met by solid rock. The French troops, weakened 
by losses in fight as well as through illness and desertions, 
could not hope to withstand Aytona's attack in their 
present position. M. le Prince took counsel of no 
one ; he said no word of raising the siege, and not 
one of his officers dared so much as to mention the 
word in his hearing ; but in his own mind the struggle 
between the man and the soldier waged fiercely. As a 
commander in his eighth campaign, he realised plainly 
enough that the right course was to withdraw from 
Lerida and prepare to face Aytona before it was too 
late ; but to Conde, the man of twenty-five, indifferent 
to danger, and hyper-sensitive to defeat and ridicule, 
it seemed, at that moment, easier to die in the trenches 
than to make such a public confession of failure. 

For some days he still went his usual rounds, 
giving orders for carrying on the siege- works. On one 
1 Bussy- Rabutin, Memoives. 

190 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

occasion he was found in the trenches with a wounded 
trooper, who had come in under cover with half his foot 
shot away, asking to have the wound dressed, that he 
might go back to his post. Physical endurance never 
appealed in vain to the Prince ; he praised the man 
warmly, ordered him back to his quarters, and saw him 
provided for. To the last he encouraged the men with 
hopes of success ; but day by day their difficulties 
increased, and in the end, Conde resigned himself ; the 
soldier triumphed. At daybreak on June I7th, 
Gramont was sent for by the Prince, who told him, 
without warning or preamble, that the siege was to be 
raised. Gramont 's feelings were divided between 
sympathy for M. le Prince, approval of his design, 
and astonishment at his adoption of it ; " having 
believed ", he says, " from previous knowledge of him, 
that pride would hold him fast, before the town, till he 
and his army had perished to a man ". Marsin and 
Chatillon were next summoned ; and on hearing from 
the Prince of his resolve, only answered " that they 
thanked God with all their hearts ; they were thoroughly 
convinced that this was indeed the right course, but 
had lacked courage to propose it ". 1 The momentous 
order was issued, to the relief and joy of the whole army ; 
and early on the following day the retreat was effected. 
There were no signs of defeat or haste ; no guns or 
ammunition were abandoned ; but the French left their 
camp before the rock, and took up new quarters some 
three miles west of Lerida. 

Conde had a harder task before him than admitting 
failure to such devoted followers as Gramont and 
Chatillon, when he prepared to write a dispatch ex- 
plaining the situation to Mazarin. No one knew better 
than M. le Prince the exact degree of satisfaction which 
the news would bring to a large circle of his acquaintance; 
to the Houses of Orleans, Guise, and Vendome, and to 
the many whom, at other times, his own sarcasms had 
not spared. The note of mortification in every sentence 
of the letter is almost disarming in its sincerity : " You 
will be surprised, after all the hopes I held out to you 
of the fall of Lerida, to hear that I have raised the siege ; 
you know me well enough to believe that it was not done 
without grief and vexation, and that in sacrificing my 
own reputation to the King's service, I was obliged to 
1 Memoires du Marchal-Duc de Gramont. 

1 647]. THE SIEGE RAISED 191 

make no small effort over myself. I am sending La 
Moussaye to give you my reasons for acting as I did ; 
I look to your sense of justice to approve them, and 
to see that the Queen approves them also ; in any case, 
I have done what I considered to be my duty. I am 
confident that your friendship for me will be in no 
way diminished by what has passed. If the enemy 
should attempt any further move, we are in a condition 
to make them repent of it "- 1 

This letter, fortunately for the Prince's feelings, 
reached Mazarin almost at the same moment as the 
news of Gassion and Rantzau's ill-success in Flanders ; 
and also of complications in the ' army of the Rhine ', 
where the Weimarian troops were on the verge of 
mutiny. From the Peace Congress, now assembled at 
Miinster, came other disquieting tidings ; the Due de 
Longueville, as chief representative of France, wrote 
that the Spanish delegates, encouraged by the present 
outlook, were inclined to treat his proposals with scorn. 
Mazarin had never been popular in France with any 
class of society. All his life he was looked on with 
suspicion, as an alien ; public opinion was never un- 
willing to hold him responsible for any national mis- 
fortune, and murmurs were growing loud against him. 
Clearly, it was not the time for him to drive M. le Prince 
into an open breach of friendship. The letter brought 
back in answer by La Moussaye, is encouraging in tone ; 
yet for all the respectful terms, there is a slight shade 
of patronage. Mazarin confesses his astonishment ; 
adding, however, " It was a great solace to me in this 
misfortune that you should have had sufficient command 
over yourself to foresee others still more serious ; such 
as the ruin of the whole army, which would have been 
inevitable had you persisted in the siege. I must 
admit that, but for such evidence, I should scarcely 
have thought you capable of relinquishing your own 
wishes so completely, and, I protest, I honour you more 
for this achievement than if you had taken the town. 
You have already given every possible proof of courage 
and capacity in your profession ; but on this last 
occasion you have shown no less prudence and zeal 
for the welfare of the State. ... It is in adversity, 
whenever it may befall, that you will learn how truly 
I am your servant n . 2 

A.C., June 19, 1647. 2 Lettres de Mazarin, ed. Cheruel, vol. iii. 

192 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

In conclusion, he strongly urges the Prince against 
resigning his post as Viceroy. Gramont, not without 
special intention, had sent word, in a private letter, that 
M. le Prince thought of returning to France immediately ; 
and as the Cardinal would have found it hard to lay hands 
suddenly on- an adequate successor, the threat helped 
to bring him to a conciliatory frame of mind. 

Le Tellier's comments on the actual raising of the 
siege are little more than an echo of Mazarin ; he makes 
no secret of his disappointment, but confirms the assertion 
that these " marks of prudence and self-restraint will 
only serve to increase Your Highness 's reputation in the 
minds of all those who look closely into such matters "- 1 
This category, it need scarcely be said, did not include 
either the House of Orleans or the citizens of Paris. 
The songs ' les Lerida ', as they were called the 
lampoons, and the general ridicule were quite as merci- 
less as Conde had expected ; and he was not spared the 
knowledge of them. Mazarin refers to their persistence, 
months later, with great show of indignation. One 
ingenious poet contrived to disparage both the Prince 
and his father, by recalling Henri de Bourbon's noted 
ill-success as a commander : 

" Us reviennent, nos guerriers, 

Fort peu charges de lauriers ; 
La couronne leur est trop chere, 
Lere la lere lanlere, 
A Lerida. 

La Victoire a demande 
' Quoi, le Prince de Conde ? 
Je 1'avais pris pour son pere. 

Lere, etc. 

Quand il a change de nom, 
II a perdu son renom ; 
Pour lui je n'ai rien pu faire '.* 
Lere, etc.". 

Conde, for all his annoyance, joined at last in the laugh 
against himself, and sent a rhyme on Lerida to his 
friends ; 3 at the same time refusing to allow the pro- 
tection of his name from insult by a special edict, a 
suggestion considerately put forward by Mazarin. 

1 A.C., July 7, 1647. 

2 Receuil de ' Maurepas ' ; Bibliotheque Imperiale. 

3 In a rhyming letter, signed by himself, Arnauld, and La Moussaye, and 
sent to congratulate the Due and Duchesse de Montausier on the birth of 
a son. The answer is written by Voiture. 

1647] CONDfi AT BORJAS 193 

Whatever the Prince may have said in a moment 
of discouragement, or have sanctioned Gramont's 
writing as a threat, it does not appear that he ever had 
any real intention of cutting short the campaign. Such 
a course, as he well knew, would be both impolitic and 
unprofessional. On the other hand, he was thoroughly 
disgusted with his present position, and absolutely de- 
termined to retire from it as soon as self-respect would 
allow. His resignation was formally placed in the 
Queen's hands, and Mazarin found that a new Viceroy 
must be chosen ; if not immediately, at least by the end 
of the campaigning season. Conde, having shot his 
bolt, applied himself to the task of leaving his com- 
mand in good order. For twelve days the French 
troops stayed encamped within sight of Lerida, while 
the surrounding country was reconnoitred and the 
neighbouring fortresses inspected and repaired. On 
July ist the camp was removed to Borjas, where 
the Prince established his headquarters for several 

Aytona's force, newly-assembled, consisted of twelve 
thousand men, encamped scarcely twenty miles from 
Lerida, at Fraga. The French were by this time not 
only inferior in numbers, but exhausted by the labours 
of the siege and by the heat of the climate ; their 
strength was also reduced by the necessity of rein- 
forcing such garrisons as Flix and Balaguer. Had the 
positions of the two Generals been reversed ; had it 
lain with Conde to take the offensive, a decisive action 
would not have been long delayed. But Aytona's 
movements were dictated by the cautious delibera- 
tion which, rightly or wrongly, were then held to 
be characteristic of his race. Neither he, nor the 
civil powers who directed him, seem to have favoured 
the idea of a pitched battle. Mazarin, writing to the 
Prince (July 22nd), tells how a French spy in the Spanish 
service has been intercepted, bearing letters from the 
Prime Minister, Don Luis de Haro, to a private agent 
at Genoa ; and how these letters contained " a highly 
important piece of secret intelligence, namely, that 
the Spaniards are anxious at all costs to avoid a general 
action ! " On this fact the assertion was probably 
grounded that King Philip iv never sent a dispatch to 
Aytona without adding in his own hand the post- 

1 Lettres de Mazarin, 

194 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

script : " Above all, be careful on no account to engage 
in battle with that presumptuous young man ", 1 

Throughout July the Spanish army continued 
motionless at Fraga. Lerida had been reinforced and 
provisioned immediately after the raising of the siege, 
by a special force from Saragossa. Conde, though 
he would certainly not have refused a definite challenge 
from Aytona, was well content to give his troops a few 
weeks' rest ; and also to avoid long marches during the 
hottest months of the year. For himself, he spent most 
of his time in scouring the country, paying visits of 
inspection to every fortified place within reach. Early 
in August he was detained in camp for several days by 
illness ; half his officers seem to have been likewise 
disabled at one time or another, as the natural result of 
carelessness in a hot climate. Bussy was among the 
victims, and attributes his own cure to the timely death 
of Montreuil, the Prince's doctor, who was attending 
him, " and who ", he says, " would most assuredly have 
killed me if he had not died himself ; he bled me eight 
times in three weeks ". a M. le Prince, a less vigorous 
subject, fared no better, for he was bled five times 
in a fortnight ; any regrets he felt for Montreuil, who had 
watched over him since infancy, must have been purely 
sentimental. Meanwhile, as the troops waited at 
Borjas, their condition gradually improved ; new 
recruits were levied, and desertions ceased. Money 
was still hard to come by ; the Government supplied 
the smallest possible funds, and Conde did not find it 
easy to meet the demands which were made on him as 
Viceroy, as well as his own private expenses . Toulongeon, 
known at Chantilly as ' Prince d' Amour ', wrote to him 
proffering a loan ; so much may be inferred from a 
letter in which the offer is gratefully declined : " Beau 
prince, if Jean Martin (a well-known money-lender) 
were not here I would gladly accept your offer, for 
indeed I am in great want ; but his purse is long enough 
for me to have no need of yours ; I shall keep that for a 
last resource, and I know my friends' generosity must 
not be abused ; so cherish your goodwill towards me 
for the next occasion ". 3 

The correspondence, on financial and other matters, 
between the Prince and Mazarin is a study in polite 

1 Desormeaux. 2 Bussy-Rabutin, Memoires. 

3 A.C., August 17, 1647. 


hostility. The point which raised the strongest feeling 
was not concerned with supplies, but with the question 
of appointing a Governor to the fortress of Flix, the 
very post which La Valliere should have held, and which 
the Baron de Jumeaux had made such haste to ask of 
M. le Prince. Since Jumeaux was an efficient officer 
as well as a personal friend, Conde granted his request 
and sent him to Flix, writing at th'e same time to 
Mazarin for the confirmation of the appointment. 
Unfortunately, the Government had another candidate 
in view ; a certain Sieur de Sainte-Colombe, a relation 
of Le Tellier's, and, in Conde's opinion, ' un assez 
mediocre personnage '. From July to September the 
discussion is waged in a series of letters ; the Prince 
growing more and more indignant, Mazarin apologetic, 
and even obsequious, in word, but still holding his own 
with a persistence which might have served M. le Prince 
as a warning for the future. Conde must have given 
way in the end, for the Queen's interest had been gained 
for Sainte-Colombe. He was spared some humiliation 
by the death of Jumeaux, which occurred before the 
first appointment had been formally cancelled ; but 
Mazarin 's treatment of his urgent personal request was 
an insult he never forgot. It only remained for Sainte- 
Colombe to justify the Prince's estimate of him; which 
he did, most effectually, three years later, by surrender- 
ing Flix to the Spaniards after the merest pretence of 

With no fleet at Tarragona to support him, no base of 
supplies to enable him to leave his own borders, and an 
enemy manifestly unwilling to meet him in the field, 
Conde had little chance of any brilliant achievement ; 
and his strength was still too inferior to justify him in 
making any sacrifice to provoke a general action. Early 
in October he laid siege to the small mountain fortress 
of Ager, which surrendered after four days' resistance. 
The remaining weeks of the campaign were employed 
in a series of strategic movements, skilful though not 
sensational, by which he repelled a belated attempt on 
Aytona's part to invade Catalonia ; a negative success, 
which gave him but little consolation for his late failure. 

The popular attitude towards Conde's first reverse 
was the penalty he paid for his early triumphs. After 
acknowledging the glories of Rocroy, Fribourg, and 
Nordlingen, there were many who found it just and 

196 LERIDA [CHAP, ix 

not unpleasant to speak of the ' disgrace ' of Lerida. 
Yet, when all was said, the position in which Conde 
left the French troops was favourable rather than other- 
wise. Invasion had been repelled ; not an inch of 
ground had been lost ; all garrisons had been reinforced, 
and all lines of communication assured . From Mazarin 's 
point of view, that is, as affording safe and lasting 
occupation for M. le Prince, the Catalonian scheme 
was undeniably a failure. Conde* was counting the 
hours till he could leave his post. Once the campaign 
was over, he cared little for the future of the province ; 
everything connected with the subject was distasteful 
to him. Already his successor had been chosen ; or 
rather, two successors, for no one man could be found 
capable of dealing with both civil and military affairs. 
Marsin was to be left in command of the troops, while 
the civil government was to be administered by Michel 
Mazarin, brother of the Cardinal, and formerly Arch- 
bishop of Aix. 

On November 7th, Conde took a formal leave of 
the authorities at Barcelona, and departed, shaking 
the dust of Catalonia from his feet. He was bound, 
not for Paris, but for his estates in Burgundy. Neither 
he nor his friends made any secret of their opinion that 
Mazarin had deliberately played him false, by with- 
holding supplies during the campaign ; and, further, 
that he had added insult to injury in the matter of 
Sainte-Colombe's appointment. It was evident that no 
pleasure or satisfaction would be gained by returning to 
Court ; and M. le Prince withdrew to Dijon, as Achilles 
to his tent. He had not long to wait for consolation. 
The Cardinal, as has been said, had no wish to quarrel 
openly with the First Prince of the Blood ; more especi- 
ally as he had designs in hand which Conde alone could 
execute. The French army in Flanders was again in 

Eressing need of generalship ; for Gassion and Rantzau, 
ift to themselves, discounted their own merits by rivalry, 
and the operations of the past six months had resulted 
in an advantage to the Spanish and Imperial forces. 
Turenne was occupied on the German frontier, in deal- 
ing not merely with the enemy, but also with a revolt 
of the Weimarian troops. Only the Prince remained. 
Mazarin, conscious of the public discontent, felt that his 
own safety depended upon a national success ; and was 
convinced, moreover, that the greatest danger of all 


would be to leave M. le Prince to find his own employ- 
ment. The post of ' Generalissime ' to the army of 
Flanders was offered, and accepted ; this time without 
opposition from Monsieur, whose last campaign had, 
fortunately, sufficed him. Strengthened by this pros- 
pect, the Prince reappeared at Court before the end of 
the year, and braved the mocking echoes of * les Lerida ' : 

" Quand il a change de nom, 
II a perdu son renom ". 

He was soon to show the world whether he could not 
throw as much lustre on his new name as on the old. 




CONDI'S return to Paris was well-timed ; he appeared, 
with a brilliant and distinguished following, just at 
the moment when the Court was relieved from a 
pressing anxiety. During the autumn the King had 
been brought almost to death's door by a severe 
attack of small-pox. The younger Prince, the little 
Due d'Anjou, had been no less seriously ill from a 
fever ; and for some weeks the Queen-Regent saw 
the lives of both her children in danger. All eyes were 
turned on the two Princes next in succession, namely, 
Gaston d 'Orleans and his cousin of Conde ; and the 
partisans of M. le Prince did not fail to draw com- 
parisons between his attitude on the occasion, and that 
of Gaston. While the King's illness was at the worst, 
Conde had held aloof, chiefly, no doubt, from pique 
over his late failure ; but also, if his supporters were 
to be believed, from pride and disinterestedness. He 
had certainly no wish to share the unseemly gaiety 
of Monsieur, who, it was reported, allowed his friends 
to drink in private to the health of Gaston i. Short 
of actually succeeding his nephew, Monsieur had high 
hopes of seeing himself supreme as Regent ; for in 
the event of the King's death the whole scheme of 
government, as organised at his accession, ceased to 
exist. The accession of the Due d'Anjou would mean 
a new Regency, and that of the Queen or rather of 
Mazarin was not popular enough to be renewed without 
question. But Louis xiv, even at that early age, was 
not a monarch to be easily disposed of, and after a 
short time of suspense his convalescence put an end 
to all speculations. Gaston saw M. le Prince return 
to Court, and occupy, as was his wont, a most dis- 


proportionate share of public attention ; the ' levers ' 
and receptions of the Hotel de Conde were far better 
attended than those at the Palace of the Luxembourg ; 
while in the Queen's Privy Council it was observed 
that Conde was listened to " as if no other Prince of 
the Blood had been in existence". His appointment 
to the command in Flanders had brought about a 
brief reconciliation with Mazarin ; and since Monsieur 
alone was formidable to no one, the Queen began to 
cherish a vain hope of peace and quietness in the State 
and in her surroundings. How far she was ignorant 
of the march of events beyond the Court, may be 
judged by her optimistic remark to her ladies on 
New Year's Eye (1647): " She was glad", she said, 
"to be beginning a new year with the troubles of the 
past, the failures abroad, and the anxiety of her 
children's illness all safely behind her ". 1 

Ten days later there were signs of open insurrection 
in Paris ; and the Fronde, young as yet, and un- 
named, had slung its first stone. For months dis- 
content had been growing rife, and the system of 
taxation unbearable. In the words of a modern 
French historian, " the monarchy was not, and had 
never been, able to furnish the means of supporting a 
great military state ". 2 The revenues sufficed for 
times of peace, but not for the expenditure of a war 
which had already lasted several years, and which the 
delegates at Minister seemed in no haste to bring to 
a conclusion. Mazarin had under his direction, as 
superintendent of finances, Michel Particelli d'Emery, 
a compatriot of his own, a man of notoriously corrupt 
character. Together they exerted superhuman in- 
genuity in devising new sources of revenue. Old 
taxes were revived and new ones invented ; large 
sums were realised by the sale of public offices, many 
of which were created, on the spur of the moment, 
for no other purpose ; and still the claims, on all 
sides, were unceasing. The great princely houses must 
bear their share of blame ; foremost among them, 
those of Orleans and Conde. M. le Prince, with his 
soldiers unpaid, reiterating his demands to the 
Ministers, and forced to meet some of the expenses of 
war from his private purse, may or may not have 
remembered the sums he was drawing from the public 

1 Motteville, Memoires. * Lavisse, Histoire de France. 

200 LENS [CHAP, x 

funds as the holder of more than one over-paid post. 
At length, in January, 1648, the limit of endurance 
was reached. A tax on all house property on the 
outskirts of Paris was revived from the oblivion into 
which it had fallen since the days of Henri n, and 
the burghers of St. Denis rose in revolt. Their grievance 
was placed in the hands of a deputation of members 
or ' councillors J of Parliament, 1 who presented them- 
selves at the Palais-Royal and were granted an 
audience. The Queen was much incensed by their 
defiant attitude ; she even interrupted the formal 
rebuke which the Chancellor Seguier was addressing 
to them, and declared that they only made themselves 
ludicrous by any attempt to restrict the King's 
authority. But the l messieurs du Parlement ', with 
the echoes of the English Civil War ringing in their 
ears, refused to be intimidated. The Ministers realised 
that the situation was not one to be trifled with, and 
persuaded the Queen to consent to some modification 
of the new financial edicts, though at the cost of much 
discussion and many high words ; and a short respite 
of superficial quiet ensued. The position of the Govern- 
ment was still critical, and its safety, as Mazarin was 
well aware, depended mainly on the course of the war 
during the coming campaign. A decisive victory for 

1 The Parliament of Paris had been established by the ' prdonnance ' of 
Philip the Fair (1302) as a judicial court, rather than as a national assembly; 
a character which it still maintained. The eight chambers of which it 
now consisted were, in reality, eight courts of law ; two ' chambres des 
requetes ', five ' chambres des enquetes ', and the ' Grand Chambre ' or 
final court of appeal, the highest court of judicature in the kingdom. It 
was, in no sense, a representative national assembly; the office of ' president ' 
(or judge), originally bestowed by the Crown, had, in many cases, become 
hereditary, through payment of a fixed annual sum. The ' Grand Chambre ' 
was composed of a ' premier president ', nine ' presidents a mortier ', four 
' maitres des requetes ' and thirty-seven councillors ; besides such ' honorary 
councillors ' as the Princes of the Blood, the peers of France, the members 
of the Council of State, the Chancellor, the keeper of the seals, and the 
Archbishop of Paris. Each ' Chambre des Requetes ' consisted of three 
presidents (or judges) and fifteen councillors ; each ' Chambre des Enquetes ' 
of three presidents and thirty-five councillors. The general assemblies of 
the eight chambers were held at the Palais de Justice, in the Chambre 
Saint-Louis ; the ' premier president ' acting as Speaker. The Parliament 
was one of the four ' cours souveraines ', of which the other three were the 
' Grand Conseil ', the ' Chambre des Comptes ', and the ' Cour des Aides '. 
The ' Grand Conseil ' regulated matters of politics and administration, apart 
from finance, which was dealt with in the chambers of the ' Comptes ' and 
' Aides '. The jurisdiction of the Parliament included all questions affect- 
ing the right and privileges of the Crown ; and it was on this ground that 
its members now approached the Queen, to protest against the arbitrary 
revival of taxes and the creation of superfluous offices. 

1648] BOSSUET AS ' RfiPONDANT ' 201 

France would force Spain and Austria to the conclusion 
of peace ; a defeat must mean continuation of the 
war. Fresh taxation would be inevitable ; and the 
Cardinal himself would probably be the first victim 
of any national revolt. Conde on the northern frontier, 
and Turenne on the Rhine and in Bavaria, held his 
fate in their hands. 

Conde, though he spent the early months of the 
year chiefly in Paris, did not take much part in the 
financial crisis, beyond letting it be understood that 
the Queen might count on his support, if extreme 
measures should be necessary. The Fronde, in these 
early stages, appeared to him only as a tedious and 
somewhat presumptuous demonstration on the part 
of the lawyers, ' les bonnets carres ', -who repre- 
sented the Parliament. He had no taste or aptitude 
for civil administration, and political economy had 
not been included in the curriculum of the College of 
Sainte Marie at Bourges. That winter, the Court was 
less gay than in former years ; only one ( ballet ' was 
organised at Shrovetide ; but the Princes, for the 
most part, found that neither their spirits nor their 
pleasures were seriously affected. Conde was no more 
scrupulous in his amusements than in the days when 
he had drawn parental remonstrance on himself ; but 
still, two higher interests held him persistently : he 
was in close relations with the classic writers of the 
day ; and the study of religion, sceptic as he appeared 
to be, had kept all its attraction for him. 1 It was 
during this same month of January, 1648, that a 
young theological student, Jacques-Benigne Bossuet 
by name, a native of Dijon, asked leave to dedicate 
to M. le Prince the essay, or ' these ', on the theme 
1 de Deo uno et trino ', which he was to prepare for 
his ^ examination at the College of Navarre, in the 
University of Paris. The thesis was also to be supported 
in argument, by the candidate, against a circle of 
1 assaillants ', before a learned audience. Conde not 
only accepted the dedication, but, what was far more 
unusual in such cases, was present at the debate in 

1 Condi's theological studies were noted in the satires of the time ; 
" Le Prince de Conde 
Veut to u jours avoir son compte ; 
En visage qui se dempnte : 
Tantot turc ou lutherien, 
Tantot Chretien, tantot payen " 

2O2 LENS [CHAP, x 

person, with a large suite of attendant gentlemen ; 
incongruous figures among the crowd of University 
professors. Such an argument, with Bossuet as 
1 repondant ', could not fail to be memorable ; and 
the Prince, mindful of the time when he, a scholar of 
fourteen, had sustained hard-fought encounters with 
the philosophers of Bourges, could scarcely restrain 
himself from leaving his place and joining the select 
band of disputants. From that day may be dated the 
regard for Bossuet which later ripened into friendship, 
and became one of the best influences of Conde's later 

The Queen and the Ministry, that year, were no 
less anxious than M. le Prince and his ' petits-maitres ' 
for the opening of the campaign. Conde passed Easter 
at Chantilly, and set out for the northern frontier 
towards the middle of April. His first headquarters 
were at Arras, and here, soon after his arrival, he 
received instructions from Mazarin respecting a pro- 
jected attack on Ypres. The enterprise was not of 
Conde's choosing ; its first originator was Rantzau, 
who, since the death of Gassion (October, 1647) had 
commanded the ' army of Flanders ; from his post at 
Dunkirk. Rantzau had considerable military gifts, 
but the drawbacks to serving with him had long been 
notorious. His health and temper were both uncertain ; 
partly from wounds, the tokens of many fights ; and 
partly from an inveterate habit of hard drinking. 
Conde's views were emphatically those of an outspoken 
contemporary Prince i 1 " What does it matter if a 
man be drunk, so, when he comes to fight, he can do 
his work?" but he could not rely on Rantzau to be 
ready for work at any given moment ; and the relations 
between them had not materially altered since the 
days of the festivity at Dachstein. At Court, however, 
the German Marshal was something of a favourite ; 
his known courage, together with an impressive appear- 
ance and manner, had stood him in good stead, and 
he was seldom refused a hearing. It was Rantzau 
who had convinced Mazarin that the winning of Ypres 
was all-important ; although, as to the details of the 
scheme, M. le Prince introduced certain modifications. 
Ypres lies between Dunkirk and Courtrai ; of which 
latter place Paluau had lately been appointed Governor. 

1 Prince Rupert ; see Pepys' Diary, January 2, 1668. 


Rantzau suggested that he and Paluau, drawing from 
their respective garrisons all the troops that could be 
spared, should march from opposite directions upon 
Ypres ; and he assured the Cardinal that to their 
joint force it would be an easy task to take the town 
by assault, without waiting for further assistance. 
Paluau agreed, but at the same time sent a messenger 
to M. le Prince, asking him to make a long detour by 
Courtrai, and to leave a reinforcement for the garrison. 
Conde wrote from Arras to express grave doubts of the 
design. The taking of Ypres by assault appeared to 
him by no means a certainty ; " and if ", says the 
dispatch to Mazarin, " Paluau's and Rantzau's brigades, 
which are both small, attach themselves to a place of 
that size and importance, they will soon have the 
enemy on their hands, with a force much greater than 
their own. ... I have written to Paluau, and told 
him to have the place well reconnoitred, and that if 
he can make sure of carrying it by assault I will consent 
to his suggestion, and give the necessary orders as soon 
as possible ; but that if there is to be a siege, I must 
first advance to some post where I shall be nearer to 
him than the enemy are at present ". Then follows a 
discussion as to the means of conveying the troops to 
Courtrai ; no easy matter, since the enemy's forces were 
assembled at Lille, at Tournai, and at Oudenarde. 
Finally, after much correspondence, the idea of an 
assault was abandoned, and directions came from the 
Government that the whole army was to march straight 
upon Ypres for the siege. By the same authority, 
Paluau's demand for a reinforcement was refused ; it 
rested with his discretion not to draw too heavily upon 
his garrison, and to leave the town in a state of defence. 
Conde 's adversary, the Commander-in-Chief of the 
Spanish forces and Viceroy of the Netherlands, was 
the Archduke Leopold of Austria, brother of the reign- 
ing Emperor. The rank of an Archduke gave its 
bearer undisputed claim to the highest command ; 
but Leopold was not without other qualifications, and 
had won some distinction in the Imperial army on his 
own merits. The officers serving under him were of 
all countries and conditions ; soldiers of fortune, such 
as Beck ; nobles like the Comte de Buquoy, and the 
Princes of Ligne and Salm ; the Spanish General, 
Fuensaldagna, whose methods Conde was one day to 

2O4 LENS [CHAP, x 

know only too well ; Sfondrato, a patrician of Rome ; 
and the * Lorrainers ', Ligniville and Clinchamp. Duke 
Charles took no active part in the operations, but his 
disturbing influence could still be felt ; for there was 
always the possibility that his troops might rebel 
against any order not given in his name. The Arch- 
duke was preparing to take the field with a force roughly 
estimated at close on twenty-five thousand men. In 
the course of the campaign, various detachments were 
drawn off from the main army for the defence of 
fortresses ; but the Spaniards, in this respect, suffered 
far less heavily than the French ; for, as Conde expressed 
it, " the enemy's towns are defended by the garrison 
and by the inhabitants ; in our towns, the inhabitants 
are our mortal foes". The French invaders were 
disliked and dreaded throughout the country ; and 
their garrisons had scarcely less to fear from the dis- 
affected citizens within the walls, than from the enemy's 
force without. 

France was maintaining armies in Germany, Italy, 
and Catalonia, as well as in the Netherlands ; but the 
Government, on this occasion, spared no effort ; and 
Conde, at the siege of Ypres, was in command of twenty- 
three thousand men, Rantzau's and Paluau's brigades 
included. His Lieutenant-Generals were : Gramont, 
in command of the second division ; La Ferte, who had 
not served with him since Rocroy ; and Antoine 
d'Aumont de Villequier, brother of that d'Aumont 
who met death heroically in the Fribourg campaign. 
Chatillon, Arnauld, and La Moussaye, ' marechaux de 
camp ', were prominent as ever. Service with M. le 
Prince had lost none of its attractions, and officers 
of every grade were at least as numerous as was con- 
venient. In a list which seems endless, two or three 
names stand out : La Tremoille, Marquis de Noir- 
moutiers, a kinsman of the Prince, and the pupil of 
Guebriant and Turenne ; the Marquis de Fors, ' marechal 
de bataille ', brother of Marthe du Vigean ; and St. 
Maigrin, her rejected suitor ; one who, it may be added, 
never forgave his rival. Boutteville had confirmed 
his cousin's good opinion of him, in spite of adverse 
circumstances, at Lerida ; and now again followed 
him, as one of many ' volontaires '. 

Spring fell late, and on April 29th the Prince writes 
that the weather is still execrable (' le plus meschant 


du monde '), and the season so backward that forage 
can scarcely be had. Nevertheless, a week from 
that date operations had begun in earnest. Conde's 
first movement, on leaving Arras, was to double back 
southwards, along the frontier to Peronne, where he 
joined Gramont and the second division. Both divisions 
then advanced upon Ypres by slightly different routes, 
Conde passing to the north of Arras, and Gramont to 
the south ; and both arrived before the town on May 
1 3th, to be joined a few hours later by the forces from 
Dunkirk and Courtrai. On the last stage of the march, 
between La Bassee and Ypres, all troops advancing 
from the frontier followed the same route, for one only 
was practicable, in the flooded state of the country. 
The French General's design must have been obvious 
two or three days before the investment could be 
effected ; and there was some expectation that the 
enemy might sally out from Lille to an attack. But 
the Archduke gave no sign of leaving his headquarters 
till the French were safely encamped. Ypres was 
rapidly invested ; the trenches were opened on May 
1 9th ; and on that same day came word that the 
enemy had given up intention of marching to the relief, 
and had appeared in force before Courtrai. At first, 
no great anxiety was felt. Paluau had made repeated 
assertions, both to the Prince and to Mazarin, as to 
the efficiency of the force he had left ; Le Rasle, the 
officer in command, had retreated into the citadel, or 
fortified part of the town, and there was every hope 
that he would make a brave defence. The siege of 
Ypres was being vigorously conducted, with good 
prospect of success ; and if Courtrai could hold out 
for a fortnight, at longest, the Prince would be free to 
undertake the relief. Three days later it was known 
that Le Rasle had surrendered and that he and all the 
garrison were prisoners of war ! This reverse was 
followed by a chorus of recrimination ; Paluau was 
charged with having drawn off more men than could 
be spared ; and Conde, with having been so much 
bent on the winning of Ypres as to neglect all other 
claims. There can be no doubt whatever that, in the 
opinion of M. le Prince, the garrison of Courtrai wanted 
courage rather than numbers ; and he expressed 
himself on the subject with his usual vehemence. 
" The defence was so pitiable that neither the town 

206 LENS [CHAP, x 

nor the citadel held out for more than two days ", he 
writes to the Cardinal. " It would have been difficult 
for you, or for me, to foresee such extraordinary con- 
duct, and I cannot console myself for the loss of our 
opportunities through this strange faintheartedness ! " l 
Gramont declares that such prompt surrender would 
have been impossible if the defenders had not abso- 
lutely lost their heads ; and that the citadel, at least, 
should have been equal to some weeks' resistance. 
The capitulation of Ypres (May 28th) proved only 
moderate compensation. The fortress, in itself, was 
powerful enough ; but as a strategic position it was 
robbed of half its value by the loss of Courtrai ; and 
the joy of the enemy was unabated at having, in the 
popular expression, taken a town from M. le Prince 
' sur la moustache '. 

Ypres had scarcely fallen when the inevitable 
dispute began as to the appointment of a Governor. 
No amount of experience could reconcile the Prince to 
Mazarin's habit of keeping all important patronage in 
his own hands. Conde had chosen Chatillon for the 

Eost, and had extracted a conditional promise in his 
ivour before the opening of the campaign ; a promise 
which, as soon as the possession of the town became a 
certainty, was retracted by the Cardinal in favour of 
Paluau, " whose misfortune had robbed him of Court- 
rai ". Puysegur, 2 an officer in Rantzau's brigade, kept 
a vivid recollection of finding himself in the same room 
with the Prince, when the letter with this answer was 
given him, and of how His Highness flew into a violent 
passion against M. le Cardinal, and also against Paluau. 
The statement is easy of belief, even without the words 
of the dispatch sent to Mazarin in reply : "I have 
received your answer to the letter I sent you by M. de 
Bussy. As for what you tell me of Her Majesty's wish 
to give the government of Ypres to M. de Paluau, and 
to set aside M. de Chatillon 's claim, I can only say 
that she is the mistress, and must always dispose as 
she wishes of any matter in which I have a part ; but 
you may judge of how it affects me, after the promise 
you made to me before I left Paris. I see that I am 
never to go through a campaign without some such 

1 A.C. t May 1648. 

2 Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puysegur ; Marechal de camp ; 
born 1600 ; served in the army 1616-60 ; died 1689. 


mortification ; and it is hard treatment to serve as I 
have served, and yet be unable to do my friends or 
myself any service. ... I will tell M. de Paluau that 
he is to have the command, and he shall be installed 
immediately, so that he may begin in good time to think 
of all his requirements, and that the same accident 
may not befall him here as at Courtrai "* The Cardinal 
was at least protected by distance ; Paluau, within 
daily reach of the Prince's comments, may have felt, 
at times, that his preferment was dearly bought. 

Mazarin was the less inclined to conciliate M. le 
Prince since the news from the German frontier had 
become more hopeful. Turenne, with the help of the 
Swedish allies, had defeated the Bavarians at Zusmars- 
hausen on May i7th. Peace seemed to be once more in 
sight ; and peace, if it could relieve financial troubles, 
would enable the Cardinal to deal more authorita- 
tively with all turbulent Princes. He was even able to 
bear with some show of indifference the news that the 
Due de Beaufort, ' le roi des halles ', after nearly five 
years' imprisonment in the Castle of Vincennes, had 
effected a dramatic escape on Whitsun-Day, June ist, 
and was on his way to the Spanish camp. " I think ", 
wrote Conde, who had a heartfelt and unconcealed con- 
tempt for Beaufort's mental gifts, " that if we hear 
that he has actually joined the enemy, we shall not 
be very much frightened". 2 Their courage was not 
put to the test ; the Duke remained for some weeks in 
hiding, and reserved his energies till later, when they 
could be used to more effect. Beaufort certainly 
had no great qualities as a General ; but as a leader of 
sedition he was, in one respect, more formidable to 
Mazarin than Conde himself, for he was framed to be 
the idol of public opinion. Conde, if his military reputa- 
tion should wane, had no store of personal popularity 
to fall back on, outside the circle of his intimate friends ; 
a fact which may partly have consoled the Cardinal for 
such a misfortune as the loss of Courtrai. M. le Prince 
had enemies elsewhere than at Court ; his were not the 
genial qualities which could overcome the disapproval 
of ' messieurs du parlement ' and the resentment of an 
over-taxed people. During the weeks that followed the 
siege of Ypres there was much evil spoken of him ; 
reports were circulated of his scandalous ways of life, 

1 A.C., June 4, 1648. 2 Ibid. 

208 LENS [CHAP, x 

his ungovernable temper, and his harshness to his 
subordinates. In the matter of scathing criticism and 
personal abuse, no doubt his officers condoned much ; 
partly on account of his rank, but more for the sake 
of his personality. They might resent the insult of a 
moment ; but when his anger was past, they seldom 
withstood any advances he chose to make. Paluau 
was more than once a victim, and as often forgave 
the sting. One day, after furiously rating him, the 
Prince was at a loss how to make amends ; at last 
he went up to him, and asked his help to fasten a 
1 casaque ' or loose riding-coat. Paluau, who knew that 
at that moment he might safely take a liberty, did as 
he was asked, saying : " I see you want to make peace ; 
well, I have no objection ". Both laughed, and no 
further apology was needed. But the Prince was not 
always repentant, and sooner or later his powers of 
invective cost him many followers, some of whom 
took an effective revenge by blackening his memory. 
The majority, with Bussy- Rabutin and St. fivremond, 1 
never lose a tone of enthusiasm in speaking of him ; 
and their own grievances, kept well in view, only make 
their tributes more eloquent. " My present relations 
with M. le Prince ", wrote Bussy, when, many years 
later, he recorded the impressions of his youth, " allow 
no one to suppose that I would tell lies in his favour ". 
1 Bussy, at the time when Conde referred to him as 
having carried letters to Mazarin, was engaged in an 
enterprise, unfortunately timed, which did not increase 
either his own reputation, or that of the Prince, in the 
minds of respectable citizens. He had | been paying 
court to the daughter of a good burgher family, a certain 
Madame de Miramion, whose husband, a councillor of 
the Parliament, had died, leaving her a widow at sixteen. 
Bussy had no fortune, and his private character left 
much to be desired. Madame de Miramion was rich ; 
her family had no wish to see her married to an adven- 

1 " Quand, d'une affection aujourd' hui peu commune, 
Conde, Ton s'attachoit a toi ; 
Et qu 'on se faisoit une loi 
De suivre ta vertu plutot que sa fortune, 
On trouvoit un charme au devoir ; 
Et qui servoit le mieux rencontroit son salaire 
Dans 1'avantage de bien faire, 
Et dans le plaisir de te voir". 

(St. Evremond, "Ode funebre sur la mort de M. le Prince, 1686".) 


turer, and refused their encouragement to the match. 
After some slight hesitation, Bussy allowed himself 
to be persuaded, by none other than the lady's confessor, 
that she would consent to an elopement ; like Chatillon, 
he was to carry off his bride by force, in spite of every 
appearance of unwillingness on her part. The letter 
with this suggestion reached him at Ypres ; he took it 
to the Prince and asked for help, which was given with 
alacrity. The town was on the point of capitulation ; 
Bussy should bear the dispatch which was to announce 
its fall. This pretext would take him to Paris, and, 
once there, he might take leave of absence for his 
adventure. Conde further offered his own castle of 
Bellegarde for a refuge after the elopement. As it 
proved, no such retreat was needed ; Bussy had been 
outwitted by the unscrupulous confessor, to whom he 
had probably paid large sums for his information. 
The plot was duly laid. Madame de Miramion was 
driving one day in the forest of St. Cloud, when her 
carriage was set upon and overturned by a band of 
armed men ; she herself was made prisoner, placed in 
another carriage, and driven as far as Launay. But 
her resistance was quite other than that of Mademoiselle 
de Boutteville ; she disdained threats and entreaties 
alike ; and since a fortune, and her official connections, 
had made her a person of some consequence, it was 
soon evident that the only wise course was to set her 
free. Her parents were bent on whatever revenge the 
law could give them, and Bussy was reduced to a crest- 
fallen appeal to M. le Prince, confessing that " my 
affair has not been as successful as I hoped ", and 
entreating favour and protection : " I need them now, 
Monseigneur, for the lady's family are pursuing me 
in her name ". A letter from the Prince put a stop to 
further proceedings ; but Bussy did not altogether 
escape his deserts. It was some months before he could 
be allowed to return to the army, or to show himself in 
public ; and to miss the later part of that particular 
campaign was no small punishment, even without the 
addition of a legal penalty. 

Bussy, whatever his faults may have been, was an 
amusing companion, and as such the Prince no doubt 
regretted him ; but he had little leisure for entering 
into his friend's troubles. Conde's official dispatch of 
June 4th gives to the Government a detailed, and far 

210 LENS [CHAP, x 

from encouraging, report of the situation and of the 
condition of the troops. He was thoroughly depressed 
by the loss of Courtrai, which he felt was unjustly 
laid to his charge ; and there were other reasons for 
a gloom} 7 ' outlook. The difficulty of maintaining an 
efficient garrison in every fortified town had increased 
tenfold : "' The garrisons have not been paid ", writes 
the Prince, " and there are desertions every day. . . . 
I think it well to tell you that all the troops are in a like 
state, and that if no remedy can be found, it will scarcely 
be in my power to prevent disbandment. I say nothing 
of a few small disturbances which I have had to deal 
with already n . 1 Money was also urgently needed to 
repair the fortifications of the coast-towns and to 
furnish arms and ammunition, since all necessary sup- 
plies were running short ; Rantzau, it appeared, had 
not fulfilled his duties of preparing for the campaign 
during the past winter. Ypres, at least, might be con- 
sidered secure ; strongly garrisoned, though at con- 
siderable loss to the main army ; and with the forti- 
fications restored and in good order. The Prince and 
Rantzau had superintended the work ; and, according 
to Puysegur, lost no opportunity of coming into the 
town from their camp outside the walls. Their object 
had been not only to inspect bastions and ' demi- 
lunes ', but also to visit the Comtesse de Voistou, a 
Flemish nobleman's wife, whose beauty had made a 
deep impression on Puysegur himself. 

Conde ends his dispatch with a request for instruc- 
tions as to any further enterprise. With Courtrai, the 
French had lost their base of operations on the river Lys, 
and the whole plan of campaign must be altered in 
consequence. Rantzau proposed a diversion towards 
the coast and an attack on Ostend, which he under- 
took to conduct if the Prince would allow him the neces- 
sary forces. Neither Conde nor Gramont considered 
the scheme practicable ; although, as Gramont ob- 
served, " it looked most beautiful on paper". Mazarin 
was so far influenced by this appearance, that he gave 
his consent, and ordered Rantzau to carry out his own 
design forthwith; another ' mortification ' to M. le 
Prince, whose advice had been distinctly to the contrary. 
No assistance was withheld from Rantzau ; but Conde 
disclaimed all responsibility beforehand : " I say nothing 

1 A.C., June 4, 1648. 


of the Ostend expedition, as M. de Rantzau has charge 
of it". 1 The attempt was made on June i4th ; and 
failed, as completely as the Prince had foreseen. The 
troops were to have been landed from surf-boats, so as 
to attack from the sea-front, but the time of the tides 
was miscalculated ; the enemy were prepared ; and, in 
the repulse, six hundred of the regiment of ' Piemont ' 
were killed or made prisoners. Rantzau himself 
escaped with difficulty, and returned to Dunkirk. His 
dealings with Conde were not likely to become more 
friendly under the circumstances, and the Prince's 
dispatch of a fortnight later is in the nature of a formal 
complaint. Rantzau is accused of having made no 
direct communication to his Commander-in-Chief since 
the announcement of the failure at Ostend. Conde had 
sent repeated messages, and had received no answer. 
Now he learnt, through Paluau, that Rantzau, unless 
he were immediately reinforced, threatened to abandon 
the fort of Cnocke (Quenoque), between Ypres and 
Dunkirk. Sfondrato, in command of the forces detached 
by the Archduke towards the coast, would be prompt to 
seize every advantage ; and once Cnocke was lost, 
Ypres would be in imminent danger. Considering what 
troops had already been granted to Rantzau, and the 
corresponding strength of Sfondrato 's force, only l une 
paresse extraordinaire ', in Conde 's opinion, could make 
the holding of Cnocke impossible. He himself has 
advanced 7000 fr. of his own money for the repair of 
the fortifications, and has instructed his Generals to 
raise further supplies in his name : " I am not in the 
habit of writing in such a manner ", he concludes ; 
" but I see there is no help for it, and I must do it for 
my own relief ". 2 

Cnocke was held ; but Conde requested that for 
the present all instructions to the coast forces might be 
sent direct from the Court to the commanding officer 
on the spot. Rantzau had been granted two thoroughly 
efficient subordinates, Castelnau and Puysegur ; with 
their help, and with his own undoubted experience and 
capacity, he might fairly be expected to undertake all 
responsibility for the defence of Bergues, Furnes, and 
Dunkirk. As for the Prince, the work of guarding the 
frontier, and keeping the Archduke in check, not only 
absorbed his energies, but led him so far inland that 
1 A.C., Conde to Mazarin, June 4, 1648. a A.C., June 29, 1648, 

212 LENS [CHAP. x. 

orders could not be transmitted without grave loss of 
time. The Archduke, after three weeks of inaction, 
had resumed operations towards the middle of June. He 
knew that the strength of the French army was greatly 
reduced ; he knew, too, that all Paris was in a ferment, 
and the Queen and her Ministers at the end of their 
resources. Like Melo before Rocroy, he felt that no 
time could be more propitious for invasion. He had been 
lured on to this design all through the winter months 
by a band of French conspirators, the remnant of the 
' Importants ', who, in their exile, had established 
themselves at Liege. Their leader was Madame de 
Chevreuse, 1 renowned for her intrigues at the Court 
of Louis xin ; a siren whose representations might 
have influenced a stronger character than that of 
Leopold. She it was who had persuaded him and 
presumably herself also that the Due de Longueville 
and other great nobles, out of sheer opposition to Mazarin, 
would welcome the invader, and that the gates of the 
frontier towns would be thrown open to him. Filled 
with these hopes, the Archduke drew off from Courtrai, 
marching south towards Peronne. M. le Prince gathered 
up his forces and followed. The Spanish army was 
before Le Catelet on June igth, preparing to seize the 
town as a preliminary to the investment of St. Quentin ; 
but at the news of Conde's approach Leopold ordered a 
retreat towards Landrecies, and took up a strong position 
on the outskirts of the Forest of Mormal. The French 
were at Le Catelet on June 25th. Between the two 
armies stretched the open plains where a pitched 
battle could be fought, and the issue of a campaign 
decided in a day. The Archduke's force was superior 
both in numbers and in artillery ; and Mazarin no sooner 
realised what the temptation of Conde's present position 
would be, than he wrote to implore caution : "I conjure 
you, Monsieur, to bear in mind what I have already had 
the honour of representing to you, namely, that on 
this occasion we have more need of the effects of your 
prudence than of your courage ". The Prince answers, 
with some impatience, that it will be easy enough to 
avoid an engagement if the enemy undertake nothing ; 
but that he would be glad to know what Her Majesty 
would wish him to do in the case of an attack on Guise, 

1 Marie de Rohan-Montbazon ; born 1600 ; married, first, Charles 
d'Albert, Due de Luynes ; second, Claude de Lorraine, Due de Chevreuse. 


La Bassee, Bethune, or any other of those towns which, 
being situated in the plain, could not be relieved without 
risk of a general action. Mazarin was, fortunately, not 
called on to make the decision, for the Archduke was 
by this time convinced that he had put too much faith 
in the promises of Madame de Chevreuse, and that, 
if he was to reach Paris, it would only be by fighting his 
way there. Each fortress seemed prepared for resist- 
ance ; while Conde was ready to intercept his march 
along the valley of the Oise. After several days' 
hesitation, the plan of invasion was abandoned, or at 
least postponed ; and on July 1 3th it was known in 
the French camp that the Spaniards had turned again 
to the north-west, in the direction of Lille. 

Conde 's answering tactics were to follow the enemy 
as closely as possible, with the object of keeping watch 
over their movements, without allowing himself to be 
drawn into a general engagement. He had every in- 
tention of meeting the Archduke in the field before the 
end of the campaign ; but not before he had secured 
certain reinforcements, which, with Mazarin 's consent, 
might soon be within reach. Erlach, the Swiss Governor 
of Brisach, known to M. le Prince from his share in 
the Fribourg campaign, was advancing through Alsace 
with four thousand of the Weimarian army, still faithful 
to France. Conde was determined that this valuable 
contingent should join his much-diminished force ; but 
Erlach, whose former position as General of the army . 
of Weimar had fostered independent habits, preferred 
service on the German frontier. Mazarin hesitated to 
send him an order which might be unwelcome, for fear of 
losing his support altogether ; and had only, so far, 
ventured to suggest that he should create a diversion by 
continuing his advance into Luxembourg. Meanwhile 
the condition of the French troops went from bad to 
worse, and the stream of deserters was unchecked. 
Conde's appeals grow desperate. Five hundred ' pistoles ' 
have been sent from his private purse to Paluau at 
Ypres ; and the same sum to the * Mazarin ' dragoon 
regiment, " whose officers and men would otherwise be 
dying of hunger ". To Le Tellier he writes begging him to 
"make M. le Cardinal and Messieurs du Conseil under- 
stand that, in the case of further delay, nothing will re- 
main to us but to discharge cavalry and infantry alike ". 1 
1 Depot de la Guerre ; see Due d'Aumale, Histoire des Princes de Conde, 

214 LENS [CHAP, x 

Mazarin was indeed in great straits ; he knew the 
necessity for sending funds nearly as well as the Prince 
himself, and the difficulty of raising them, a good 
deal better. Turenne's success at Zusmarshausen had 
not been followed up by any fresh conquests, and the 
Imperialists seemed prepared to carry on the struggle 
indefinitely. Further taxation was impossible, and 
the attitude of the Parliament became daily more 
threatening. By an Edict of Union, passed in May, 
the four ' Sovereign Courts ' had bound themselves 
together, on their own initiative, into a single Chamber, 
for discussing the reform of their State ; the appointed 
delegates continued to meet and to deliberate, in open 
defiance of the Royal decree which forbade their 
assemblies. Such was the pass to which the Cardinal 
was reduced that he appears, from their correspond- 
ence, to have actually invited Conde's return to Paris, 
on a flying visit, that they might discuss the situation. 
Gramont had already paid one such visit, and was 
supposed, in some quarters, to have put forward the 
idea, by the Prince's order ; but whoever was its 
originator, it is clear that Mazarin rather welcomed the 
possibility than otherwise. His letter reached Conde 
at Le Catelet at the same time as the news of the 
Archduke's march from Landrecies. The French were 
to follow a parallel line of march ; but, in order to 
keep the necessary distance, they were not to leave 
their present quarters till July 2Oth. For a few days, 
at least, an encounter would be impossible ; M. le Prince 
might reach Paris, urge his request for Erlach's troops 
with the Cardinal, and rejoin the army on the march 
before his presence could be necessary. Leaving Le 
Catelet on July i7th, he made the journey in forty- 
eight hours ; and, till he was almost at the city gates, 
Mazarin alone had news of his coming. Monsieur 
made this sudden arrival the cause of one of his out- 
bursts of jealousy. Why, he demanded, should M. le 
Prince be asked to give his opinion on the crisis ? 
What right had a Commander-in-Chief to leave his 
post without an order from the Lieutenant-General 
of the Kingdom ? But the Queen, duly prepared by 
her Minister, received her cousin with smiles and 
marked graciousness ; so that his triumph was as 
evident as Monsieur's wrath. From the conference 
that followed, all were excluded save the Queen, the 

1648] LOSS OF FURNES 215 

Prince, and Mazarin. Two days later, Conde was on 
his return journey to the frontier ; and by July 2 7th 
orders had been issued to Erlach, which he found it 
well to obey. There was to be no further question of 
a diversion in Luxembourg ; he was to turn westwards 
from Metz and direct his march on Marie and Guise. 

Conde rejoined his army, a few miles north of 
Arras, on July 24th. His next camp was between 
Bethune and Hinges ; and here, with what patience 
he could muster, he waited the approach of Erlach and 
the Weimarians. An order had been dispatched ; but 
the Cardinal's promise was no guarantee, and he showed 
symptoms, now and again, of reverting to his first 
intention. The main body of the Spaniards was at 
Warneton, some twenty miles northwards, only with- 
held by Conde 's presence from a descent upon Ypres. 
Matters stood thus, when, on July 29th, word came 
from the coast that Sfondrato had laid siege to Furnes. 
Contrary to the general expectation, M. le Prince made 
not a movement for its relief. His obvious excuse for 
inaction was that, between Bethune and Furnes, the 
whole country was intersected with canals or 
1 watregans ' ; he would have been forced to make a 
circuitous march, and it was not likely that he could 
cover the distance in time. But there were other 
reasons, less apparent. As Erlach 's contingent drew 
near, Conde 's whole being concentrated itself on the 
fixed resolve of meeting the Archduke in a decisive 
action. Even setting personal inclination aside, what 
signified one fortress, more or less, compared to all 
that a victory, at that moment, would mean to France ? 
Furnes, if it were to be saved at all, must be saved 
by Rantzau ; for what other purpose had he been 
provided with a force that could ill be spared ? A 
march of the main army towards the coast would have 
delayed the meeting with Erlach, and left the enemy 
at Warneton unchecked. Therefore, despite sugges- 
tions, the Prince continued in the neighbourhood of 
Bethune. Rantzau displayed no great energy, and 
Furnes capitulated on August 2nd. Conde wrote to 
Mazarin, exonerating Du Bosquet, the Governor of 
Furnes, from all blame ; and to Erlach, urging him to 
hasten his march. 

The taking of Furnes was the enemy's second 
success since the opening of the campaign. Any loss, 

216 LENS [CHAP, x 

at such a moment, was felt by the Court to be a calam- 
ity, and the tidings were met with great lamentation. 
The Spanish triumph was proportionate ; Leopold 
turned his thoughts again towards invasion, and 
let the report circulate that he was now searching 
in vain for any opposing force ; that he had been 
anxious at every point to meet his enemy in the field, 
but that Conde had invariably retreated before him. 
Some such announcement, appearing in the Gazette 
d'Anvers, spread grief and rage among the officers in 
the French camp, but the Prince advised them not to 
distress themselves. The enemy, he said, would find 
him quite soon enough ; and they would see whether 
he or the Archduke were most afraid of the other. 
One encouraging voice reached Mazarin in Paris ; 
namely, that of Turenne, who steadily declared his 
conviction that the campaign would not close without 
some signal success for the army of Flanders. 

By August pth, Erlach was at Ribemont on the 
Oise, and there received a further message from M. le 
Prince. Two days later the Archduke began his 
advance southwards with an attack on the small 
fortress of Estaires, ten or fifteen miles from Bethune. 
Conde marched from Hinges, with an advance guard, 
but was too late to save the place, which surrendered 
in twenty-four hours, and he fell back upon Merville, 
to rejoin Gramont and the remaining troops. On the 
1 4th, Erlach was at Arras ; Vaubecour, ' marechal de 
camp ', set out from Bethune with a small detachment 
to meet him, and keep the way clear. Conde, counting 
the hours, still resisted the enemy's challenge ; the 
two armies manoeuvred, backwards and forwards 
between the Lawe and Lys rivers. One brisk skirmish 
took place, when Chatillon gained an advantage over 
the Comte de Buquoy. Then at length, on the 
morning of August i6th, Erlach was in Bethune with 
his force ; the numbers three thousand five hundred 
something short of what had been expected ; but 
the men, ' fort bons et fort lestes '. 

The three days that follow have the tension of a 
duellist's pause after the first crossing of swords. 
Conde was now at the head of sixteen thousand men ; 
the enemy's force, like his own, had suffered losses, 
but he was still out-numbered by at least two thousand. 
Six battalions of French infantry had been dispatched 

1648] THE PLAIN OF LENS 217 

westwards, immediately on Erlach's arrival, to satisfy 
Rantzau's persistent cry for help ; and four more to 
strengthen the defence of the frontier between Guise 
and Rocroy. The French Generals were likely to need 
all their resources ; for three months campaigning, in 
a dearth of supplies, had told heavily on the troops. 
They were ill-fed and, many of them, literally in rags ; 
worse than all, there was some reason to fear that the 
fighting spirit of the men had suffered with the rest of 
their equipment. The officers, fortunately, were ardent 
as ever ; and if provocation had been needed, the Gazette 
d'Anvers would have supplied it with great success. 

Conde's first offensive movement, after the junction 
with Erlach, was the retaking of Estaires by assault 
(August 1 8th) ; partly for the sake of its strategic 
importance, and partly, as it was freely recognised, for 
his own private and personal satisfaction, lest the 
phrase ' sur la moustache ' should be heard again. 
The enemy had been last sighted on the road to La 
Bassee ; and on the night of August 1 7th the Governor 
of that fortress sent word that the whole Spanish force 
had passed by Pont-a-Vendin and was marching on 
Lens. The Archduke, hearing news of the Weimarians, 
and knowing that the long-expected action would not 
be delayed, was making all haste to choose his position. 
Conde received the message early on the i8th, just 
after the fall of Estaires ; he left orders with Gramont 
to take the road to La Bassee with the troops, and 
pushed forward himself, with a small escort, to make 
a reconnaissance. His chief fear was that the Arch- 
duke, possessed by the idea of invasion, might be 
holding on his march southwards, instead of awaiting 
him in the plain of Lens. But he was soon reassured. 
Just beyond La Bassee, forty squadrons of Spanish 
cavalry were sighted on* the rising ground near Lens ; 
and, when the Prince saw before him the enemy and 
the open plain, every grievance, every vexation of the 
past months vanished in that moment of joy. 

By the evening he had returned to La Bassee to 
join the troops ; and from there issued the order of 
battle. His own post was on the right, where seventeen 
squadrons were to be drawn up : nine under Villequier 
in first line ; eight under Noirmoutiers in second. On 
the left, Gramont commanded sixteen squadrons, also 
in two lines : the first nine led by La Ferte ; the remain- 

2i 8 LENS [CHAP, x 

ing seven by Le Plessis-Belliere, Governor of La Bassee, 
who had brought the greater part of his garrison into 
the field. The * marechaux de camp ' and * de bataille ' 
were distributed on the wings : on the right, Arnauld, 
Fors, and La Moussaye ; on the left, among others, 
St. Maigrin, and Lainville, a soldier of Rocroy, Fribourg, 
and Nordlingen. Chatillon had command of the centre, 
which was to be drawn up as follows : in the first line, 
seven infantry battalions, with the artillery posted in 
front of the intervals between them. In the second 
line, five infantry battalions, and between these two 
lines, six squadrons of the * gendarmes '. In the rear, 
Erlach was to hold six squadrons of the ' cavalry of 
Alsace ' in reserve. The Prince issued three special 
instructions to the troops, with a view to the fact that 
the engagement must be fought in the open. They 
were to observe each other's march, so as to keep 
their line and distance with perfect exactness ; to 
advance to the attack at a slow pace ; and to let the 
enemy fire first. The first two orders were to guard 
against that besetting temptation of the French officer, 
to which La Ferte had fallen a victim at Rocroy ; the 
hasty impulse, which gave the word to charge at too 
great a distance, and destroyed the shock of the attack. 
The firing orders were in accordance with the range 
and character of the seventeenth-century musket and 
pistol. The loading of one of these weapons was the 
work of several minutes ; and the side that fired first ran 
the risk of being taken at a disadvantage by the enemy's 
charge, before the men had time to reload. 

The fortress of Lens stood on high ground, five or 
six miles across the plain from La Bassee. The 
garrison an insignificant force had surrendered at the 
first summons, and the place was already in the enemy's 
hands. The fortifications, in themselves, were of little 
value, but they served to form part of a strong position. 
Beneath the walls were stationed the troops of the 
Spanish right ; twenty-seven ' free companies ' of 
Flemish cuirassiers, under Buquoy and the Prince de 
Ligne. The fighting line stretched along the gradual 
ascent which rose from Lens to above the village of 
Lievain. In the centre, where the Archduke himself 
had taken up his post, Beck was at the head of twelve 
infantry battalions ; and Fuensaldagna had fifteen 
squadrons in readiness to support him. On the left, 




the Prince de Salm commanded twenty squadrons, 
including the famous light-horsemen of Lorraine, with 
their own Generals, Ligniville and Clinchamp. The 
artillery was a formidable array of thirty-eight guns, 
distributed along the heights. At the foot of the slope 
a small river, the ' ruisseau de Lens ', wound its way 
through swamps ; the ground beyond, excepting for a 
space below Lievain, was uneven, and intersected by 
lanes and high hedges. 

Such was the position in which M. le Prince found 
the enemy confronting him when his army drew out 

. x 

*\ , 

- v 

f ( 


'<* ^ 



4 Kilometres. 

from La Bassee on the morning of August iQth. At 
Fribourg/ and again at Nordlingen, he had not hesi- 
tated to attack forces even more strongly posted ; but 
in each case his own force had been equal, if not 
superior ; and even so, he had paid heavily for a qualified 
success. Here, he knew himself out-numbered ; he 
was determined to fight ; but he was equally deter- 
mined that the action should take place in the plain, 
and not on the slopes. The French army halted, in 
full order of battle, not more than a mile and a half 
from the enemy ; and there waited, while the position 

22O LENS [CHAP, x 

was observed, and its strength estimated. There was 
some skirmishing between scouting-parties, and the 
artillery exchanged fire at intervals ; but Leopold's 
alleged eagerness to meet the Prince did not seem likely 
to make him leave the heights. Conde was prepared to 
wait the enemy's pleasure for some hours ; he had made 
ready in every detail for the coming action ; and it 
was reported that this tried commander, being still 
young in years, spent the afternoon in playing school- 
boy games with his officers, in an orchard. But as the 
day wore on, certain difficulties presented themselves. 
The plain afforded little or no shelter, and the heat 
was unbearable ; forage was scarce, and the horses 
could not, by any possibility, be fed or watered. Before 
night, a new decision had been arrived at ; a camp 
was to be established at Noeux, seven miles on the 
road to Bethune. All necessary provisions would be 
found there, and the enemy could still be observed ; 
any movement on the part of the Archduke would be 
met by a prompt attack. 

So far, the advantages of the scheme were self- 
evident ; but Conde intended that the march to Noeux 
should serve another purpose as well. His course of 
action, and the motives which determined it, have 
given rise to some discussion ; but they are clearly 
stated in the official Relation, of which two manu- 
script copies are preserved : l " M. le Prince, having 
resolved to shift his ground, debated whether to carry 
out his design by day or by night. To march by night 
was the safer course. To march by day was incom- 
parably more worthy of a great prince, and gave him 
every hope that the enemy would follow him, and that 
he would be able to engage them. This falling back, in 
full daylight, before the army of Spain, whose com- 
manders were among the bravest in Europe, was indeed 
a perilous undertaking. There seemed but a step from 
such a retreat to defeat and flight. But honour, and 
the hope of a general engagement, prevailed ; he 
resolved not to march till day ". 2 Gramont, who 
must certainly have been in the Prince's confidence, 

1 Duplicate copies are preserved in the Depot de la Guerre and in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale. 

2 Montglat, in his Memoires (i^ih campaign), omits to give these reasons, 
and one or two historians, following his example, speak of this manoeuvre 
merely as a retreat. 


states that he deliberately chose daylight for his 
manoeuvres, " wishing to show the enemy his readiness 
to fight, and that he had no fear of them ". 

Conde was not likely to speak of his reasons to 
anyone save Gramont and one or two intimates ; for 
the Archduke's spies were on every hand ; and the 
orders issued that the troops should bivouac that 
night in the plain, no doubt caused some astonishment 
among his officers. At daylight the march began. 
Erlach's reserve led, passing to the right, in rear of the 
centre and right wing. The troops from the left and 
centre were next withdrawn ; and the rear was brought 
up by the right wing, which covered the movement. 
Chatillon, with the cavalry of the centre, was to be ready 
to support the rear-guard. If the Archduke should 
accept the challenge, and show signs of making a general 
advance, the whole army was to be ready to face about 
and receive him. 

The news that M. le Prince was on the march was 
not long in reaching the Archduke's camp. Looking 
down on to the plain, in the clear light of morning, 
the Spanish Generals saw to their amazement the 
French army defiantly executing a flank march in full 
view of the enemy, little more than a mile away. But 
Leopold was too cautious a man to yield at once to 
temptation. Instead of giving the word to prepare 
immediately for action, he merely ordered the cavalry 
of his left wing to engage the French rear-guard. From 
the plain, no general advance was observed, and the 
greater part of the French troops held on their route 
towards Nceux. At first, only a few squadrons of 
the enemy's Croat light-horsemen appeared, and the 
regiment ' Son Altesse Royale ', which brought up 
the rear, was ordered to meet them. Then the fore- 
most of Ligniville's squadrons came up, and charged ; 
' Son Altesse Royale ' gave way ; and now the 
Lorraine cavalry began to pour down the hillside. 
Conde, riding with the main body of the rear-guard, 
signalled to Chatillon to attack, and himself ordered 
the eight squadrons that were with him to face about 
in support. Chatillon 's charge drove the enemy's 
horsemen back half-way up the slope ; but Ligniville 
rallied them, as fresh squadrons came on, and bore 
down again upon the ' gendarmes ', scattering them to 
right and left. Conde, in the plain, exhorted his 

222 LENvS [CHAP, x 

squadrons to hold their ground ; but a panic seized 
them, like that which had possessed Gramont's troops 
at Nordlingen ; and not even the Prince could prevail 
against it. At the sight of the broken ranks of the men- 
at-arms, and the sweeping advance of the Lorraine 
cavalry, they turned and fled ; fled hopelessly and 
indefensibly. Conde, deserted furious, but for the 
moment, helpless was forced to fly with them. He 
was the last to turn ; it was well for him that he delayed 
no longer, and that he had a good horse ; another 
instant's hesitation, and he would have been led a 
prisoner to the Archduke. 

Ligniville might well be encouraged by his success ; 
but though one column of French cavalry had been 
routed, there could be no question of pressing the 
pursuit. Already the whole main body of the French 
army had acted on their instructions, and, at the first 
sign of a serious engagement, had drawn up in battle 
order, facing towards Lens. Chatillon was rallying 
the ' gendarmes '. Only a ridge separated Conde 
from the main body, when at last he brought the 
fugitives to a halt. Ligniville, unseen by the French 
troops, and himself fearing what the ridge might 
conceal, drew back, and waited for the Archduke's 

Gramont, from his post on the left, rode up in haste 
to join the Prince, whom he found in a white heat of 
rage at the behaviour of his troops, but with a head 
none the less clear for his plan of action. That the 
enemy should still refuse to give battle, was incredible ; 
so much advantage, at least, had been gained by the 
morning's humiliation. The order of battle drawn up 
at La Bassee was still to be maintained, with one excep- 
tion. The delinquent squadrons had been rallied ; 
but these troops were too much unnerved to be exposed, 
as before, in the first line. Conde directed that they 
should change places with the squadrons of the second 
line, who would thus bear the brunt of the first attack. 
Every moment was precious ; but the change was 
effected by what is described as ' a kind of counter- 
march ', carried out with admirable quickness and 
precision. The men-at-arms were re-established at 
their post in the centre, and the special instructions 
with regard to marching and attacking in line were 
repeated. Each man was in his place when the enemy's 


infantry was seen advancing down the slope to where 
Ligniville waited in the plain. The Archduke's prudence 
had been overcome by Beck's assurances that half 
the French forces were already in flight ; that their 
army was reduced, through privations, to a state 
unfit for action ; and that he need only attack to make 
his victory secure. M. le Prince, for his part, felt that 
satisfaction was at hand. He rode once along the 
lines, and addressed the troops briefly and to the 
point : " My friends ", he said, " pluck up your courage. 
You will all have to fight to-day ; there will be no 
use in turning back, for I promise you that all shall 
serve alike ; the brave men of their own free will, and 
the cowards because there will be no escape ". Though 
the words were stern, the manner must have been re- 
assuring, for the speech was received with shouts of 
enthusiasm ; some drew their swords ; others waved 
their hats and threw them in the air ; " and even those ", 
it was observed, " whose clothes were falling in rags 
about them, bore themselves more proudly than any 
Spaniards". Gramont was at the Prince's side during 
the inspection ; when it was over, they took an affec- 
tionate leave of one another, and returned each to his post. 
Beginning at daybreak, the march, the skirmish, 
and the incidents that followed, had occupied about 
four hours. It was eight o'clock when the French 
army, in magnificent order, advanced across the plain 
to the sound of drums and trumpets. The Spaniards 
came on at a quicker pace, their troops disposed in the 
same order as on the heights. The Spanish line was 
less regular than that of the French ; the left wing, 
of which the Lprrainers now formed the second line, 
being slightly in advance. The artillery, on both 
sides, was already in action, and the opposing forces 
were within thirty yards of each other, when three shots 
were fired on the Spanish left ; where, leading the first 
line, the Prince de Salm faced the squadrons under 
Conde's direct command. At the same instant M. le 
Prince gave the word to halt, and renewed his order 
to the troops to let the enemy fire first. This time 
there was no sign of wavering ; each French squadron 
stood like a rock. There was a moment's pause ; 
Salm, too, had halted, and seemed to be waiting an 
attack ; but still Conde, a tense and silent figure, 
held his troops motionless. Then the foremost ranks 

224 LENS [CHAP, x 

of the Spaniards fired ; the French answered ; and 
before the enemy could recover themselves, the Prince 
raised his sword for a signal, and led the charge. Salm's 
horsemen were borne down and scattered. Conde 
ordered up Noirmoutiers, with the second line, to 
meet Ligniville's troops as they advanced to cover 
Salm's defeat. For the next hour the struggle was 
desperate. The Lorrainers fought with such fury, 
that before Noirmoutiers came up, the French had 
lost their advantage at one or two points, and Villequier 
and La Moussaye had been taken prisoners. Part of 
the Spanish reserve was called up, and on the French 
side a message was dispatched to summon Erlach. 
Conde, in the thickest of the fight, had reached that 
state of inspired energy which his followers looked on 
as almost superhuman. Each squadron, threatening 
to give way, found him at its head to rally the men ; 
ten charges that day were led by him in person. The 
power of resistance, which was the pride of the Lor- 
raine troops, had reached a limit, when the scale was 
turned against them by Erlach 's appearance on their 
flank. The combined onslaught of the French and 
Weimarians was irresistible ; Ligniville's squadrons 
broke and fled ; and the troops of the Spanish reserve, 
advancing too late, were overwhelmed and swept into 
the rout. The Prince, leaving Erlach to carry on the 
pursuit, found himself joined on the field by Gramont, 
and learned that the troops of the left wing had carried 
all before them. Gramont and his officers had carried 
out the policy of the slow advance and the delayed 
fire with triumphant success. Buquoy was in full 
flight ; St. Maigrin and La Ferte were pursuing. The 
moment was sublime, and the Prince and Gramont 
meeting, would have embraced ; but their chargers, 
still excited by the action, attacked each other furi- 
ously ; the riders had to separate them ; " and in so 
doing J> , says the Marshal, " were in as great danger as 
any they had passed that day ". 

While the Spanish cavalry fled over the plain west- 
ward towards Douai, Chatillon, opposed to Beck and 
the Archduke, was still engaged with the infantry. 
Earlier in the day the French battalions had been 
threatened with disaster. The * Gardes Francaises ', 
who occupied the post of honour in the centre of the 
first line, finding themselves within a few paces of the 


enemy, had infringed their orders and rushed forward 
to the attack. Their charge was so vigorous that they 
broke through the enemy's line and penetrated far 
into the ranks ; but here swift retribution overtook 
them. Beck, who was leading the squadrons detailed 
to support the infantry, took instant advantage of the 
mistake ; the ' Gardes ' found themselves hemmed in 
on every side ; and the guns which they should have 
defended were taken. Chatillon, flower of the ' petits- 
maitres ', was no less ready at need than his adversary. 
He called up the troops of the second line to fill the 
breach made in the first ; then charged with his men- 
at-arms, recaptured the guns, and rescued the sur- 
rounded battalions, though not before they had 
suffered heavily. The Spaniards, despite all efforts, 
could not hold their advantage. Beck fought fiercely, 
but was disabled by a shot in the shoulder and made 
prisoner ; Ligne, who had joined the centre with a 
handful of men when his own troops had been dis- 
persed by Gramont, was also taken. The Archduke, 
seeing the day irretrievably lost, fled with the rest 
to Douai, followed by the last of his cavalry. The 
infantry, drawn up in a square, were left unsupported, 
as the ' tercios viejos ' had been at Rocroy ; but no 
such last stand was seen again; these battalions were 
gathered from many nations, and no proud tradition 
held them together. Chatillon was joined by Conde 
and Gramont ; and the Prince ordered Roche, the 
captain of his guards, to charge the square. The 
exhausted ranks offered scarcely any resistance. Roche 
found them opening before them ; there were cries for 
quarter, and this last remnant of the Archduke's 
army surrendered almost without a blow. 

The battle had lasted, in all, less than three hours ; 
but seldom has victory been more complete. Lens 
stands out, among Conde's triumphs, as the least 
clouded by loss of life on his own side, although killed 
and wounded together amounted to close on fifteen 
hundred. The Spanish loss was estimated at three 
thousand killed and five thousand wounded and 
prisoners. On the French side, the Guards had suffered 
far more severely than any other regiment, but there 
were many losses among the cavalry officers and on 
Conde's staff. Great grief was felt at the death of 
two young brothers, Louis and Francois de Champagne ; 


226 LENS [CHAP, x 

of the elder, Louis, Marquis de Normanville, the official 
narrative record that " he was twice wounded during 
the action, an died two days later. He had not long 
completed his seventeenth year, and this was the 
second campaign in which he had served with great 
credit as aide-de-camp to the Prince ". La Moussaye's 
fate was at first uncertain. He was known to have 
been wounded, and his horse was found dead on the 
field ; but some days later, after diligent inquiry by 
M. le Prince, it appeared that he had been carried 
with the rout to Douai, where he was safe, though a 

Since it was evident that the enemy were making 
no attempt to rally, from any quarter, the French 
Generals rode on towards Lens . They reached the fortress 
about midday, and the Prince learned that, as a last 
stroke of triumph, one of his officers, single-handed, 
had reduced the garrison to submission. Villequier, 
brought in a prisoner an hour or two earlier, had 
watched the defeat of the Spaniards in the plain ; and, 
with the utmost presence of mind, had forthwith de- 
manded that the town should surrender to him. He 
spoke so eloquently of the danger of awaiting Conde's 
attack, that he carried the day ; and it was he who 
received M. le Prince at the gates and presented him 
with the keys of the town. 

That evening Chatillon was on the road to Paris 
bearing the dispatch which was to give Conde's arch- 
enemy relief from one of his greatest cares. To Mazarin, 
the defeat of the Spanish army meant the peace of 
Europe ; and he welcomed it even at the price of personal 
success for the Prince. To the Court, the news meant 
the reinstallation of M. le Prince on the highest pinnacle 
of fame ; the Orleans faction was silenced, and ' les 
Lerida ' were as though they had never been. Every 
courtier was ready to exclaim, like the phlegmatic hero 
of Dumas, when Lens roused him to enthusiasm : 
" Que c'est beau de s'appeler Conde I et de porter 
ainsi son nom ! " 



THE long uncertainty of the campaign had culminated 
in sixteen hours of acute suspense for the Queen, the 
Ministry, and the whole Court. On August 2ist, at eight 
in the morning, there came a messenger from Arras, who 
stated positively that a great battle had been fought 
near the frontier the day before ; the town had been 
roused by the sound of firing. He could give no certain 
news of how the victory had gone. All he could testify 
was that, so far as was known, no fugitives had passed the 
frontier ; a hopeful sign, inasmuch as it argued a pursuit 
into the enemy's country. The Queen controlled her 
impatience as best she might, hoping every moment for 
Conde's dispatch. Hours passed, and it was not till 
midnight, just as she and her ladies were about to 
withdraw, that Chatillon was ushered in, triumphant . In 
a few words he reassured the Queen ; then, before an 
audience breathless with excitement, he embarked on 
a glowing narrative of the fight. He said least of his 
own exploits, and it was not till afterwards that, as one 
of his hearers observed, " we heard that this noble 
messenger had done wonders worthy of himself and of 
his race "- 1 But he did not forget that the Queen of 
France was a Princess of the House of Austria ; and 
in all her transports over the victory, she listened 
with visible pleasure to his courteous praises of the 
Archduke's courage and generalship. Mazarin was in- 
formed of the joyful tidings the same night. Next 
morning they were imparted to the little King, who so 
far forgot his precocious Royal instincts as to exclaim 
naively : " How very sorry the Parliament will be ! " 
No clearer proof could be given of the strain which 

1 Motteville, Mimoives. 


Mazarin had undergone during the past months, than his 
rash and violent action in the moment of relief ; an action 
altogether foreign to his character, and one to which, 
at a more ordinary time, no pressure would have made 
him consent. The Queen's first thought was how best 
to chastise all or any who had dared to resist the edicts 
proclaimed in her son's name. By birth, or by marriage, 
she belonged to the two proudest Royal Houses of Europe; 
their traditions had entered into her, till, in spite of an 
easy and indolent disposition, the first hint of opposition 
to the Crown found her impracticable, and could change 
her from a placid, amiable woman, into a fury. Her 
demand for vengeance came before the Cardinal at the 
psychological moment when he was least inclined to resist 
it ; the reaction from a pressing fear gave him courage 
for a bold stroke, and hid from him how far the time 
chosen was ill-advised. His assent was given, without 
hesitation ; and the orders for the Te Deum of victory 
to be sung in Notre-Dame were scarcely issued, before a 
vigorous scheme of punishment was on foot. 

Since the passing of the Edict of Union the demands 
of the Parliament had by degrees forced the Ministry 
into further concessions. Emery had been dismissed, 
and his post of finance minister given to the Marshal 
de la Meilleraie, whose private fortune and personal 
integrity were expected to outweigh his inexperience, 
and act as a safeguard against corruption. Several 
newly created offices had been abolished ; and the tax 
on property, from which the nobles were entirely 
exempt, was reduced by one- fourth. These reforms 
had been dictated by the whole assembly of the Parlia- 
ment ; but, as it was pointed out to the Queen, to 
punish the whole assembly at one blow was clearly 
impossible ; the ringleaders must first be dealt with 
as examples. Three prominent members were chosen 
more or less at random ; the ' presidents ' Charton and 
Blancmesnil, and Broussel, a councillor of the ' Grand' 
Chambre ' ; a writ was issued for their arrest, and was 
promptly put into execution. No better time, it was 
urged, could be found than the day appointed for the 
Te Deum August 26th, the feast of St. Louis. The 
King was to attend in state ; and along all the route, 
from the Palais-Royal to Notre-Dame, the Household 
troops would be stationed, ready to quell any disturb- 
ance that might follow on the arrests. The Parliament 

1648] THE ' BROUSSEL ' RIOTS 229 

was largely represented at the Te Deum, for every 
member was anxious to proclaim his patriotism and 
free himself from the suspicion so innocently voiced by 
Louis. Broussel and Blancmesnil were both present, 
and each, on his return, was arrested in his own house. 
Charton had received warning and escaped. 

The news of Broussel's arrest roused a storm of 
indignation among the citizens of Paris. This veteran 
councillor was upwards of seventy years old ; poor, 
but incorruptible ; and in their eyes the personification of 
all that was upright and venerable. The whole city 
was roused to arms ; barricades were erected in the 
streets, and a furious crowd surrounded the Palais- 
Royal. La Meilleraie, attempting to address the mob, 
was driven back with stones and imprecations. The 
inmates of the palace began by making light of the 
disturbance, and Retz, a self-constituted emissary from 
the people, was greeted in the Royal presence with 
scarcely veiled derision. But it was soon clear that 
the Parisians were in no humour to be laughed at. 
After two days' ceaseless uproar, in the course of which 
the chancellor Seguier was mobbed, and his carriage 
fired upon, the Queen found herself compelled to yield. 
The eloquent demand of Mole, 1 ' first President ' or 
Speaker of the Parliament, added to the alarmed per- 
suasion of her ministers, gained the day ; and both 
Broussel and Blancmesnil were set at liberty. 

Mazarin perceived, too late, the harm which the 
Royal cause had suffered. Abroad, the advantage 
gained by the victory of Lens still held good ; but 
its effect on the State at home was practically destroyed. 
The Government had been worsted, in fair fight, by 
the Parliament and the people ; and, in addition, the 
Court had made at least one powerful enemy. Retz, 
keenly sensitive to ridicule as Conde himself, never 
forgot, or forgave, the treatment he had met with on 
the famous ' day of barricades ' ; and he was not 
soothed by hearing how, on the evening of that day, 
the Queen had been kept laughing for two hours by 
the comments of her household on the airs of M. le 
Coadjuteur, and his ostentatious efforts to quiet a 
disturbance which was believed to be partly of his 
own raising. ' The Fronde ' was no sooner named than 

1 Matthieu Mole, born 1584 ; President from 1641 ; noted for his 
courage and integrity throughout a long Parliamentary career. 


Retz established himself as one of its leaders. 
Bachaumont, councillor of the Parliament, was re- 
sponsible for the saying which took the town by storm, 
when he compared the assemblies of the Sovereign 
Courts to the meetings of students and apprentices, 
who practised the forbidden sport of the ' fronde ', or 
sling, under the city wall. 1 In each case the game 
was repeatedly broken up- by the authorities, and in 
each case it flourished notwithstanding. Retz was a 
born party politician ; he saw the value of a nickname, 
and exploited it to the utmost ; and in a few days 
ribbons, laces, ornaments of every kind, and even 
bread-rolls, were ' a la fronde '. The Scriptural 
associations were not forgotten ; they gave more than 
one poet an opportunity : 

"Monsieur notre Coadjuteur 
Vend sa crosse pour une fronde ; 
II est vaillant et bon pasteur, 
Monsieur notre Coadjuteur ; 
Sachant qu'autrefois un frondeur 
Devint le plus grand roi du monde, 
Monsieur notre Coadjuteur 
Vend sa crosse pour une fronde ". 

Retz had surveyed the situation with great care 
and small pretence of disinterestedness. Many schemes, 
half-framed, were in his mind, but one consideration 
influenced all alike ; and that was the uncertainty as 
to which party M. le Prince would support, when the 
close of the campaign set him free to make his choice. 
The Bourbon spirit was never more strongly repre- 
sented than in Conde, and all his natural instincts 
would hold him fast to the Court ; but where the 
Court was, there was Mazarin, and the Coadjutor did 
not despair. He knew that his own personality was 
sympathetic to the Prince, just as Mazarin 's was 
directly the reverse ; and it was with a fair amount 
of confidence that he set himself to prepare his weapons 
of persuasion. 

Conde heard the first detailed account of the 
Broussel riots from Chatillon, who had been present 
in Paris at the time. One intimation reached him 
earlier in the shape of instructions from the Govern- 
ment ; certain troops were to be detached from the 
frontier force, near Guise, and to march on Paris in 

1 Retz, Memoires. 

1 648] SIEGE OF FURNES 231 

case of further sedition ; but both Mazarin and Le 
Tellier joined in somewhat misleading assurances that 
the first disturbance had been entirely suppressed, and 
that future prospects were rather tranquil than other- 
wise. The truth was that, once the more violent 
tumult had subsided, the Cardinal was bent on delaying 
Conde's return as long as possible. M. le Prince was 
at no time a peaceful element, and so long as the war 
lasted, he would be far better, and more safely, employed 
with the army, than anywhere nearer at hand. Conde, 
for his part, had many reasons for wishing to give 
up the command. The great work of the campaign 
was done, but the strain had told on him ; he was very 
much out of health ; and the reports from Paris gave 
him constant anxiety. Matters were not now as in 
his father's lifetime, when ' M. le Due ' could win 
glory in the field, while the elder Prince watched over 
family interests at home ; if any great crisis were at 
hand, he must play his part, as head of his House, 
and not be outdone by any machinations of the Orleans 
or Vendome factions. Writing from Estaires on 
September ist, the Prince asks Mazarin to see that 
the Queen shall accept his resignation as soon as he 
has accomplished the retaking of Furnes. He will 
then be at hand to serve Her Majesty, if civil disturbance 
should make it necessary ; if not, he proposes taking 
a course of the waters at Forges. Mazarin answered 
by a string of diplomatic objections ; the enemy, seeing 
M. le Prince apparently recalled in haste, might 
exaggerate the importance of the riots ; the people of 
Paris might be startled into fresh rebellion by rumours 
that an army was on its way to deal with them. No 
mere ministerial argument was forcible enough to 
convince Conde against his will ; but, as fate would 
have it, by the time he was able to return to Paris, 
the Cardinal was more than ready to receive him. 

Furnes was not expected to offer long resistance ; 
the only chance of relief was from Sfondrato's force, 
which still hovered between the coast-towns. Rantzau, 
after much preparation, and at least one false start, 
had completed the investment on August soth, and 
was now directing siege operations, though with only 
moderate zeal, and a doubtful regard for instructions. 
Conde bore with him for a time, not wishing to increase 
the distance between himself and Paris ; but presently, 


in answer to some communication, he received a letter 
from Rantzau, dated ' Camp of Furnes, or near Furnes, 
whichever you please ' ; and the tone, at once insolent 
and unprofessional, roused him to sudden action. He 
left Estaires, without a word of warning to Rantzau, 
and appeared before Furnes, entirely unexpected, on 
the morning of September 7th, in a great downpour 
of rain ; bringing with him nearly all the troops of 
Erlach's contingent. Puysegur, who had known the 
Prince intimately at Ypres and at Courtrai, was first 
made aware of this new arrival. " I was leaving 
Rantzau 's quarters ", he says, ' when I heard a 
man come up behind me, and felt him seize hold of 
my head with both hands. I said at first : ' For 
God's sake, let me alone. Can't you see that I am 
wet through, and in no mood for joking?' But the 
unknown hands held him all the tighter. At last he 
wrenched himself free, turned, and saw the Prince : 
' I never thought you were here, Monseigneur ! What 
made you come? " " Your General wrote a letter that 
brought me ", answered Conde ; " he dated it ' Furnes, 
or near Furnes ' ; and as we must either take this 
place or risk losing Dunkirk, I came to make sure 
that we do take it ". 1 Puysegur declared that the 
town would be theirs in two days, provided the rain 
ceased ; but the weather had delayed operations from 
the outset. Conde lost no time in assuming the 
command. Arnauld was sent with a fresh summons 
to the garrison to surrender; and Puysegur, to find 
quarters for the newly arrived troops ; no easy task 
in the flooded state of the country. Meanwhile the 
Prince himself set out for the trenches, and there, as 
it was said, " persisted in doing the duty of a General, 
a company officer, and a private, all at once " ; 2 with 
the result that, before the end of the day, he had 
passed through as narrow an escape as any that befell 
him in the course of his life. He was directing and 
sharing in the work, under fire from the walls, when a 
musket-ball struck him on the hip-joint. The bullet 
was partly spent, and a fold in his buif-coat turned it ; 
but only that chance pleat of leather saved him from 
a broken thigh, an injury which in those days was 
generally fatal. The force of the blow was enough to 
make him lose consciousness ; and Puysegur, coming off 

1 Puysegur, Memoires. 2 Letters of Guy Patin. 

1648] CONDfi DISABLED 233 

duty, was dismayed to meet M. le Prince being carried 
helpless into camp. The surgeons found on examina- 
tion that the bone was not broken ; but it was an age 
of heroic remedies; they "judged it well to make 
several incisions in the bruise ", and it is not surprising 
to learn that " although the wound was in no way 
dangerous, His Highness suffered great pain". That 
evening he heard that no answer to the last summons 
had been sent from the town ; and, fearing lest his 
hurt might delay matters, he sent for Puysegur and 
desired him to go instantly and take order with the 
Governor. " What terms shall I give them ? " asked 
Puysegur ; who enjoyed some reputation as an envoy. 
" The worst you can ", answered the Prince, " make 
them all prisoners of war, if possible ". Puysegur did 
his utmost ; the articles of surrender were signed that 
day ; but it was agreed that the garrison should have 
their liberty, in exchange for that of the survivors of 
' Piemont ', taken prisoners at Ostend. 1 

The bullet of Furnes decided the question of Conde's 
resignation very effectually ; he could not hope to be 
fit for active service before the end of the campaigning 
season. " I protest ", wrote Mazarin, " that I shudder 
each time I think of how easily the wound might have 
been mortal " ; 2 and the words were so far sincere that 
each day, as it passed, found him more in need of a 
powerful protector ; M. le Prince must be propitiated 
at all costs. The Queen's message betrays the same 
tone : " I implore you earnestly to return, as soon as 
your health allows ; there is no other way in which you 
can please me so well". 3 The Princess Dowager sends 
characteristic letters, full of fears and recommendations. 
She had loved her son less as Prince than as Duke ; his 
dealings with his family had seemed arbitrary, even to 
her, and she resented, though she could not resist them ; 
but her feelings were never proof against the thought of 
his danger : " I am in dreadful anxiety, although the 
Chevalier de Gramont assures me that your wound is 
slight ; but the letter which I hear you wrote has not 
arrived. Send back a message quickly, my dear son, 
and put an end to my grief ; for until I know the truth 
from yourself I shall always imagine that they are 
keeping your injuries from me. ... I beg of you not to 

1 Puysegur, Memoires. 2 *A.C., September 12, 1648. 

3 A.C., September 12, 1648. 


try and get up too soon, and to take care of your health, 
for which I pray God without ceasing ", 1 

The letter of which the Princess speaks, is not 
among the Archives of Chantilly ; but it may be hoped 
that she was soon made glad by it, and by other assur- 
ances that the Chevalier spoke truth. In a few days 
the Prince was able to be moved from Furnes to Calais. 
His intention, as expressed to Mazarin, was to travel by 
slow stages to Chantilly, and there to complete his 
recovery; " unless ", he adds, "Her Majesty should 
send orders for me to join her earlier, in which case 
I will obey immediately ". 2 The pretext of health was 
genuine enough ; but it seems probable that Conde 
may have wished to observe the political situation from 
some point nearer than the frontier, before embarking 
all his interests in a cause which was Mazarin 's as well 
as the King's. He spent two or three days at Calais ; 
and there found some amusement in the reappearance 
of the Comte de Bussy-Rabutin, for the first time since 
his late inglorious exploit. Bussy approached in 
some trepidation ; he knew the Prince well, and he 
feared, not blame, but ridicule. However, his arrival 
was welcome, and he escaped more easily than was 
expected ; only, he says, when he was ushered into 
the room where M. le Prince still kept his bed, His 
Highness burst out laughing, and began to sing : 

"Oh, la folle entreprise 
Du Prince de Conde ! " 

a once popular verse on the unsuccessful campaign of 
a former Prince ; and insisted, further, on hearing every 
detail of the adventure from beginning to ertd. 3 All 
Bussy 's acquaintance in the army received him with 
congratulations ; but one or two fired his jealousy by 
telling him of a young Gascon officer ' le petit Guitaut ', 
as he was called, to distinguish him from an elder 
kinsman, ( le vieux Guitaut ', Captain of the Queen's 
guard. The younger Guitaut had done duty as cornet 
of the ' chevaux-legers de Conde ' in Bussy 's enforced 
absence, and was said by some to have supplanted 
his interest with the Prince. In later years he was to 
prove himself a formidable rival, not only with Conde, but 
also as a favoured correspondent of Madame de Sevigne. 

1 A.C., September 12, 1648. * A.C., September 14, 1648. 

3 Bussy-Rabutin, Memoires. 


When M. le Prince came to Chantilly on September 
1 8th, he found that the Queen had accepted his offer 
of immediate service ; more eagerly, perhaps, than he 
anticipated. Urged by her ministers, she was straining 
every nerve to make sure of his support from the out- 
set ;" it was essential that he should be seen at her side, 
displaying his allegiance, in the very instant of his 
return. The Court was no longer in Paris. Since the 
day of the barricades there had been no outbreak as 
violent, but smaller disturbances had scarcely ceased ; 
to say nothing of the personal abuse showered on ' Dame 
Anne ', and ' the Sicilian '. Anger influenced the 
Queen, as fear influenced Mazarin ; it was to show her 
displeasure, as much as to avoid danger, that she removed 
the King from his capital, and accepted the hospitality 
of the Duchesse d'Aiguillon at Rueil. Where the King 
was, at such a crisis, the Prime Minister must be, and 
Mazarin thankfully availed himself of his office to escape 
from the threats of the mob. More than once, so his 
servants reported, he had been on the point of flight ; 
and after the Broussel riots he had spent a whole night 
booted and spurred for the journey. Rueil was a place 
of comparative safety, but the distance from Paris was 
trifling. All the significance of the Queen's action lay 
in the facts that the King was outside the walls of the 
city, and that he had been transported thither as a 
punishment to his subjects. The alleged reason that 
the Palais-Royal was in need of cleaning, was doubtless 
true, so far as it went ; but it deceived no one. For 
the moment, the Queen had secured an effective form of 
revenge ; the Parisians had a strong proprietary feeling 
for ' la personne du Roi ', and, moreover, the unexpected 
absence of the Court was bad for trade. Some attempt 
was even made by the citizens to stop the King's 
baggage-waggons as they passed through the gates ; 
and the Queen could not ensure a safe journey for 
herself and her son without sending for the * prevot des 
marchands V and giving him a fallacious promise that 
His Majesty should return within a week. 

It was to Rueil, therefore, that Conde was sum- 
moned, to show his loyalty, and there he was received 
with every mark of favour and distinction. No com- 
pliment was too extravagant for the victor of Lens, who 

1 The position of the ' prevot des marchands ' was more or less equi- 
valent to that of the Lord Mayor. 


was now to be the chief defender of the Crown ; and the 
Queen was heard to declare that she loved him as a 
third son. Mazarin hoped, and believed, that interest 
and pride of race would act alike as barriers between 
Conde and the Parliament ; but he knew, from the first, 
that victory would not be without a struggle. To win 
the Prince, he must fight for him ; and Retz, his chief 
opponent, was only too well equipped for the fray. 
Cpnde's attitude, in this hour of vital importance to 
his career, has been discussed by each and all of his 
contemporary critics. That he should be accused 
of deliberate treason, of stirring up civil war to gain 
his own ends, was perhaps inevitable. Those whose 
circumstances and private knowledge of him best 
qualify them to judge, acquit him, with one voice, of 
any such premeditated design. Retz and La Roche- 
foucauld, leaders of the Fronde ; Madame de Motte- 
ville, who steadily champions the Queen ; Lenet, 
confidential agent of M. le Prince ; and Bussy, who 
cherished more than one grievance against him, are all 
agreed on this point. Their reasons are the more 
sincere for appearing, in a sense, uncomplimentary. 
If the Prince refrained from such an obvious course, 
it was far less from principle than from distaste and 
incapacity for deep-laid schemes of the kind ; he 
lacked, not intelligence, but application, and above all, 
self-command, for carrying them through. In war, he 
was a master of action rather than of strategy ; in 
politics, Lenet, his most intimate adviser, admits, almost 
with a touch of scorn, that he found him habitually 
" with no fixed design ; living, as the saying is, from one 
day to another". 1 The Coadjutor's view is especially 
characteristic ; Conde, as a politician, perplexed and 
disappointed him. He felt, as Richelieu had felt ten 
years earlier, that here, of all others, was the Prince to 
be sought as an ally; one who, more than any man 
in the kingdom, combined the prestige of rank with a 
brilliant and compelling personality. Retz speaks of 
these gifts with something like envy, and with a very 
clear idea of the use he himself could have made of 
them. If, as he says, M. le Prince had followed his good 
intentions with more prudence, he might certainly 
have re-established the State ; but " if his intentions 
had been evil " here sounds a note of real enthusiasm 

1 Lenet, Memoires. 


" he might have gone all lengths, at a time when the King's 
youth, the Queen's obstinacy, Monsieur's weakness, 
and many other causes, opened to a young Prince full 
of talent, and already crowned with laurels, a far wider 
and more glorious career than that of MM. de Guise 
(under the Valois) >> . 1 Richelieu lived long enough to 
find difficulties in dealing with the boy ; Retz, in his 
fuller experience of the man, analysed both his strength 
and his weakness, and marvelled at the ' want of 
discipline and proportion ' in a mind whose powers 
compelled his heartfelt admiration. 

The palace at Rueil could not accommodate Princes 
and their suites, as well as those of the King, the Queen- 
Regent, and the Cardinal. Conde took up his residence 
in Paris, and visited the Queen from his own house. 
Retz profited by the opportunity; M. le Prince had 
scarcely set foot in the Hotel de Conde before the 
Parliament began their advances. They had been 
lately armed with a fresh grievance. The Queen, 
once outside Paris, had felt able to make another 
attempt at asserting the Royal authority ; no more 
popular leaders were arrested, but the new victim, the 
Comte de Chavigny, was suspected of friendly dealings 
with the Parliament, and of intriguing to win over M. le 
Prince. Chavigny, formerly in the Ministry, and now 
Governor of Vincennes, had the humiliating experience 
of finding himself a prisoner within the walls of his 
own iortress. His arrest took place on September i8th, 
the day before Conde 's arrival at Chantilly. The 
incident made no special appeal to the public, and there 
was no repetition of the Broussel riots ; but for their 
own safety the members of Parliament determined to 
lodge a formal protest against this practice of arbitrary 
imprisonment. A deputation was appointed to be 
received by the Queen at Rueil ; and others to wait on 
Monsieur and on M. le Prince, with a view to discovering 
their intentions. Conde 's answer, from the Cardinal's 
point of view, was all that could be wished ; he made 
fervent protestations of loyalty, adding that he was 
about to see the Queen, and receive her orders with all 
possible submission, and that he advised his questioners 
to do the same. To uphold the Crown against the 
insistence of the subject, was the natural instinct of 
every Bourbon ; but in justice to Conde 's powers of 

1 Retz, Mkmoives. 


judgment, it must be said that, in theory at least, he 
was disposed towards conciliation. Nearly three 
months earlier he had written to Mazarin from Le 
Catelet : " I wish I were more capable of advising Her 
Majesty in the present crisis. I do not see, however, 
that she can take a wiser course than to deal gently 
with these matters, and to try by every means to win 
back disaffected spirits, before proceeding to extreme 
measures ; at the same time " the conclusion was 
inevitable " to suffer no diminution of the Royal 
authority, which she must maintain to the end ". l This 
admirably judicial frame of mind held good so long as 
M. le Prince was not actually confronted by aggrieved 
representatives of the Parliament ; when, as it was 
soon to appear, his wise resolutions melted like snow 
in summer. On his first return to Paris, both sides 
looked to him as mediator ; and he was fully pre- 
pared to undertake the part. His meeting with the 
Coadjutor was not long delayed. Retz took care to 
be informed of the exact hour at which Conde intended 
to pay his respects to the Queen, and timed his own 
arrival at Rueil just after the first rapturous greeting 
of the hero had been accomplished. The Coadjutor 
had made no secret of his opinions ; and only his eager- 
ness to interview the Prince, together with an assurance 
of his protection, led him to brave the dangers of the 
visit, in these days of sudden arrests. He found the 
Queen, with a brilliant company, taking her ' collation ' 
in the gardens ; she greeted him cordially, and, as a 
special compliment, offered him one of the Spanish 
lemons which had just been sent from her own country. 
No one besides herself should taste them, she declared, 
excepting the Cardinal, M. le Prince, the Princess 
Dowager, and M. le Coadjuteur. Time had been, 
at the Court of France, when such a favour would have 
been more alarming than coldness ; but Anne of Austria 
was no Medici Queen-mother. The meal passed gaily ; 
and when it was over, the Prince took occasion to 
whisper to Retz as he passed him : "I will come to 
you to-morrow at seven o'clock ; there will be too 
many people at the Hotel de Conde ". 2 

The length at which Retz has reported his own share 
of the several interviews that followed, cannot but 
give rise to scepticism. Could any such harangues 

1 A.C., July 2, 1648. 2 Retz, MSmoires. 


have been delivered impromptu ? Even if this were 
possible, Conde would surely never have listened with 
patience. But there is every reason to suppose that the 
substance of most of the dialogue is correct. Retz 
set forth the glory, and the material advantage, to be 
gained by the course he suggested ; how the Prince 
might supplant Mazarin in the Queen's favour, and 
at the same time secure allies among the Parliament ; 
and by this means. find himself " master of the Council, 
and arbiter in the State ". Conde heard, and seemed 
convinced. Retz even asserts that he agreed to attend a 
private meeting at the house of one Longeuil, councillor 
of the ' Grand' Chambre ', and a renowned ' frondeur ' ; 
but whether this scheme was ever carried out, no record 
remains to show. The hopes of the Coadjutor, and all 
his party, rose high ; only to be shattered, a few days 
later, by a public encounter between the Prince and 
the delegates of the Parliament. The Queen, instead 
of returning to Paris, had removed the whole Court 
to St. Germain before the end of September ; and 
here it was proposed that, as a conciliatory measure, 
a series of conferences should be held, for inquiry into 
and redress of existing grievances. Gaston, as ' son of 
France ', and Cond^, as ' first Prince ' formally invited 
the Parliament, by letter, to choose a band of delegates 
to meet them for this purpose. The Parliament, reply- 
ing to the summons, asked to confer with the Princes, 
1 and with them only '. Whether the idea of excluding 
Mazarin had its origin in the ' Grand' Chambre ', or, as 
Retz asserts, with M. le Prince, has never been clearly 
established ; but it is certain that the Cardinal offered 
little resistance. In the first place, he had a physical 
dread of violent scenes ; in the second, he hoped to 
make a bid for popular favour by holding aloof. If 
the conferences should be unsuccessful, some part, at 
least, of the public dislike would be diverted from 
him to the Princes ; more especially as Conde 's dis- 
position was not one to make him beloved in council. 

On the day appointed (September 25th) the chosen 
delegates appeared, with the dignified figure of Mole 
at their head. Next to him in importance was Viole, 
' president aux enquetes ' ; able and vigorous in debate, 
but little respected by his colleagues, and notoriously 
unscrupulous in his private life ; second to none in his 
hatred of Mazarin, and already advocating a revival of 


the ' decree of 1617 ', which forbade any foreigner to 
hold office in the State. Sixteen others, presidents and 
councillors of the Sovereign Courts, completed the 
deputation. They were received by four Princes 
Gaston, Conde, Conti, and Longueville ; and the con- 
ference was opened in due form, Monsieur presiding 
with much grace of manner. The hours that followed 
brought a new experience to M. le Prince; one which 
was to be repeated as often as he and the ' bonnets 
carres ' met in opposition. No worse training for 
debate could be imagined than his life in camp, in a 
circle of which he was at once the hero, and the spoilt 
child ; and that he should show more consideration 
towards these civilians than towards his own officers, 
was an idea that never even occurred to him. He 
might be willing to admit the claims of the Parliament 
as a body, but as individuals they acted on his nerves, 
and irritated him beyond endurance. The delegates 
and here lay the novelty of the situation were far too 
conscious of their own importance to let themselves be 
browbeaten. They were outraged by the behaviour 
of a Prince who, when discussion arose, either turned 
them into ridicule, or lost his temper and stormed at 
them ; but they were only the more determined to 
stand on their rights. This earliest conference had 
scarcely opened before M. le Prince discovered cause for 
offence. Chavigny's arrest was the first question to be 
brought forward. Viole moved the petition for his 
release, declaring at the same time that this point 
must be settled ' as a preliminary ', and that till some 
assurance against these arbitrary arrests could be given 
them, no other subject would be entered upon. The 
bare suggestion of a dictatorial tone was quite enough 
to rouse Conde, who objected, vehemently, that it was 
not for subjects to stipulate as to ' preliminaries ' in 
dealing with their Sovereign ; he repeated Viole 's phrase, 
holding it up to derision. Viole protested that the 
offending expression was only used to emphasise their 
humble prayers and supplications. Mol6, and some 
other pacific spirits, intervened, and the discussion was 
allowed to pass to different matters ; requests were 
made for the reduction, by one-fourth, of the existing 
taxes, and further, for the immediate return of the 
Court to Paris ; but no conclusions were arrived at 
that day, and the meeting broke up in dissatisfaction. 


The image of Conde fierce, insolent, and uncontrolled 
was vividly impressed on the mind of each delegate ; 
and though, in his calmer moments, he was more than 
half prepared to serve their cause, he remained for ever, 
to the majority of them, an incarnation of the tyranny of 

Four times in the course of the next ten days the 
conferences were renewed ; and in the end the Parlia- 
ment had the upper hand. Conde, for all his im- 
practibility in council, was at heart convinced by 
his better judgment. Of the four Princes, it was he 
who, from the first, urged the Queen most strongly to 
concession ; telling her plainly, to her great indignation, 
that this was no time for punishments. As to the 
matter of arrests, Chavigny was a friend to the House 
of Conde, and one who might do good service on his 
release ; moreover, it was impossible to forget that 
even Princes of the Blood had been imprisoned before 
now, and that a guarantee of safety was not to be 
despised. But apart from all personal considerations, 
it was evident to Princes and Ministers alike that 
the choice lay between concession and civil war ; and 
not one among them, as yet, seemed prepared for the 
latter alternative. Monsieur lacked energy ; Conti 
and Longueville, influence ; Conde held Mazarin and 
' Messieurs du Parlement ' in almost equal abhorrence, 
and was unwilling to throw in his lot, irrevocably, 
with either party. To Retz he spoke of " those devils 
in square caps " ; " who ", he said, " will either drag 
me with them into a civil war, or force me to put that 
rascally Sicilian over their heads and mine". The 
cause of the Parliament was not without attraction, 
especially when advocated with all the skill Retz 
could command. More than once Conde seemed to 
waver, and contempt for ' the Sicilian ' was strong 
within him ; but still his hesitation resolved itself 
into the high-sounding sentiment : " My name is 
Louis de Bourbon ; I can do nothing to shake the 
power of the Crown ", 1 He was none the less keenly 
aware that this same power could only be maintained, 
at the present time, by judicious yielding. The Queen 
was deeply incensed against all the Princes for their 
attempts to persuade her, and more especially against 
Conde, whom she knew to be the dominant spirit 

1 Retz, Memoir es. 


among them ; but the coalition was too strong for 
her. She declared, with tears, that her son would 
be no better than ' a King of cardboard ' ; and it 
was not till nearly a fortnight after the last con- 
ference that the ' Declaration ' agreed upon by all 
parties received her signature. The Parliament, having 
good reason for satisfaction, received the terms with 
many promises of future obedience. The demand for 
reduced taxation was granted absolutely ; the power 
of the Crown to imprison subjects ' without question ', 
greatly modified. Chavigny and certain other political 
prisoners were to be released forthwith ; and the 
King was to return to Paris within the next few 

The Queen's consent was finally wrung from her on 
October 22nd. Almost on the same day, the con- 
cluding treaty of the Peace of Westphalia was signed 
at Miinster, and the Thirty Years' War was at an end. 
Not that hostilities ceased altogether ; for Spain, alone 
among the Powers, held aloof from the treaty, and 
prepared to maintain war against France single- 
handed, trusting to put an army together during the 
winter season, Still, the terms of peace were so un- 
questionably favourable to French interests, as to 
constitute, a triumph for Mazarin's foreign policy. The 
territorial gains were not large in extent, but such 
possessions as Austrian Alsace, and the Rhine, from 
Basle to Constance, were of inestimable value, for 
purposes of communication in time of war. Above 
all, the central power of Germany was broken by the 
enforced recognition of smaller Sovereigns. The rulers 
of the Upper and Lower Palatinates, the Elector of 
Treves, and the Grand-Duke of Hesse-Cassel, were all 
to enjoy their free rights, and each one was known to 
be a firm ally of France. The stimulus of success was 
renewed, and the Cardinal began once more to meditate 
schemes for the annihilation of all rebellion in the State. 
Once certain of Conde's support, he would not have 
hesitated to declare open war on the rebels ; and that 
support came every day more nearly within his reach. 
With growing satisfaction he watched the relations 
between M. le Prince and the ' frondeurs ', and realised 
that his own self-effacement, and Conde's natural 
disposition, were producing exactly the effect he 
intended. Let the Princes avail themselves of their 


privileges ; let them go to the Parliament, when the 
Court returned to Pans, and take part in the debates 
as often as possible. A few more encounters, and 
Conde would be effectually cured of any lurking 
inclination to play the part of the people's friend. 


I 648-49 

WITH the signing of the ' Declaration ' at St. Germain, 
the earliest stage of the Fronde reaches its close. Up 
to that time, the movement, despite the motives of 
many concerned in it, could still lay claim to a patriotic 
character. If Retz and Viole were among its leaders, 
so also were Mole and Broussel. But now, as Retz 
increased his ascendancy, the more dignified elements 
fell into the background, thrust aside by a horde 
of Princes and nobles, whose aims were openly un- 
scrupulous and self-seeking, but whose alliance was 
eagerly sought by the Coadjutor. The Parliament, in 
the first elation of their success, looked towards 
England ; they saw a King the prisoner of his subjects, 
and burned with emulation, forgetting that the 
power of the English Parliament lay in the fact that 
they were, what no French Chamber had ever been, 
a truly representative national assembly. If Mazarin 
was prepared to declare a civil war, this body of 
magistrates, recruited entirely from the learned pro- 
fessions, was no less ready to meet him. Retz, however, 
was fully aware of his allies' limitations ; he realised 
that the party, in its present state, was unfitted either 
to organise an army or to lead public opinion. Some 
figure was needed to impress the crowd by rank and 
brilliancy, if not by solid worth. Retz himself had 
brilliancy, but his prestige was not great enough, and 
he knew it ; moreover, his profession, though not his 
temperament, made it difficult for him to take an 
active part in war. Conde was the prize for which 
both parties had striven ; the Coadjutor had done his 
utmost to win him, and now, conscious of failure, 
looked for some more or less efficient substitute ; for 


there were many Princes, though Conde was, in every 
sense, ' the Prince '. The result of the search appears 
not long before the end of the year, in a statement 
by La Rochefoucauld: "I heard", he says, " from 
Madame de Longueville, that the whole scheme of a 
civil war had been drawn up and agreed upon at Noisy, 
between the Prince of Conti, M. de Longueville, and 
the Coadjutor of Paris ". The Duchess herself had 
no doubt taken part in their counsels. They still 
hoped, she added, to persuade M. le Prince to act with 
them. Longeuil, Broussel, and Viole represented the 
Parliament ; and, if Retz is to be believed, made all 
the promises required of them without the knowledge 
of their colleagues. 

Retz showed all his wonted intelligence in turning 
to Madame de Longueville, when he found her brother 
beyond his reach. The nymph of Chantilly, after 
some years of marriage, had lost little or none of her 
beauty ; while she had gained considerably in ambition 
and in political influence. Her husband, twenty-three 
years her senior, was a man whom, at any age, it 
would have been difficult for her to love or to respect. 
For a while the training of the nuns of St. Denis had 
prevailed, and her flirtations, if numerous, had been 
harmless enough ; but circumstances had proved too 
strong for her ; she had entered into an intrigue with 
La Rochefoucauld, which, for the time being, placed 
her entirely in his power. At the same time she held 
sway over a host of admirers, among whose names 
was mentioned that of Turenne. It was rumoured 
that she had laid her spell on him in the course of 
her journey to Minister ; when, as she passed the 
frontier, he received her with great ceremony. " M. de 
Turenne went to meet your sister ", wrote the Dowager 
Princess to her son ; "he passed all his army in review 
for her, and escorted her two days on her journey ; 
she begs me to tell you this ". 1 The political influence 
of the Duchess was slightly marred by the fact that 
she was on less good terms with her brother than 
formerly, each suspecting the other of interference in 
their respective private affairs ; but Retz believed firmly 
in their mutual affection, and there was every reason 
to suppose that the breach might be healed. Conti, 
' le petit frere ', as the Parisians began to call him, in 

l *A.C. t September, 1646. 


distinction to the ' grand frere ', M. le Prince, was 
willing to be dominated by his sister in all things ; 
so that one Prince, at least, was secured to the Fronde. 
There remained the need of a leader who could supply 
the frankly popular element, and, for this purpose, 
the Coadjutor found Beaufort ready to his hand ; 
Beaufort, with his good looks undiminished, and with 
an additional halo of romance shed on him by his 
daring escape from Vincennes. The united powers of 
Madame de Longueville, Conti, and this ( king of the 
markets ' might fairly be held to equal those of Conde 
alone, and Retz was well satisfied with such a foundation. 
For further support, he waited ; certain that a party 
where all Mazarin's enemies might find welcome, would 
not long be in want of adherents. Already, La Roche- 
foucauld had accepted Madame de Longueville 's 
suggestion, and thrown himself eagerly into the project 
for war. Mazarin had refused him a duke's patent ; 
" and I now saw my way ", he says, " to showing 
the Queen and the Cardinal that they would have 
done well to consider me ". l 

Throughout the few weeks that intervened, before 
open hostilities were declared, plotting and quarrelling 
were ceaseless. At one moment it seemed as though 
Monsieur himself might join the ranks of opposition. 
The Abbe de la Riviere, still foremost as a confidant, 
had set his heart on a Cardinal's hat, and Monsieur 
had made application on his behalf in the King's 
name. The Pope (Innocent x) granted the request ; 
and the transaction was all but accomplished, when La 
Riviere, to his wrath and dismay, heard that M. le 
Prince was making a like application for his brother 
of Conti ; and that, since not even the King of France 
could nominate more than one Cardinal at a time, 
the honour promised to a mere Abbe, scarcely a gentle- 
man by birth, was to be unhesitatingly revoked in 
favour of a Prince of the Blood. No boy of nineteen 
had ever felt, or shown, less vocation than Conti for the 
sacred office. He had made some efforts at positive 
resistance ; and lately, as an assertion of independence, 
had appeared at Court dressed, not in sober black or 
violet, but in the most brilliant colours, and wearing a 
sword. The elder brother, however, had passed the 
decree. The provision made by the Church was an 
1 La Rochefoucauld, M&moires, 


obvious refuge for younger sons, and relieved their 
families of all inconvenient obligation towards their 
support ; and if the Prince had suffered coercion 
on other matters in his own boyhood, he was all the 
more ready now to play the tyrant. The Princess 
Dowager acquiesced in his decision ; her younger son 
had been, especially of late years, her favourite, but she 
was convinced that his health would never let him 
follow the profession of arms, which was the only alter- 
native. Before their joint attack, Conti was forced 
to yield, trusting to some chance obstacle in the 
future. Meanwhile Gaston had been persuaded that 
La Riviere's disappointment was a slight to himself. 
Conde laughed, and reminded the Queen that anger, 
in that quarter, had never yet produced any very 
terrible consequences. La Riviere presumed so far 
as to make covert advances towards M. le Prince, and 
beg him to withdraw his application altogether, offer- 
ing, in return, to serve him in the obtaining of any 
post or favour he might covet for himself ; but Conde, 
strong in the knowledge that the Queen would, just 
now, refuse him scarcely any gift of power or place, 
thanked M. 1'Abbe sarcastically, and assured him 
that he had no wish to improve his present position. 
Mazarin, more cautious, felt that this was not a moment 
for lightly offending any Prince. He was justified 
in that Gaston, encouraged by a troop of discontented 
nobles, showed himself more implacable than was his 
wont. A compromise was agreed upon, by which 
La Riviere's nomination was to hold good ; while 
another Sovereign, the Queen of Poland, was to apply 
on behalf of the House of Conde. There the matter 
rested ; and, as it proved, the events of the Fronde 
altered Conti's destiny ; but Monsieur did not yield 
without delay. The Queen received no visit of ceremony 
from him on her return to Paris ; he kept apart, at 
the Luxembourg Palace, surrounded by the Vendome 
and Lorraine Princes. The Court was in dismay. 
Mazarin, half expecting an open attack, ordered the 
guard to be doubled before the Palais-Royal ; but his 
alarm was groundless, for Monsieur was Monsieur 
still ; no persuasions could change his nature. At the 
moment when his followers were congratulating them- 
selves, and when a declaration of war was hourly 
expected, he suddenly tired of the whole controversy, 


and, the better to escape importunities, announced 
that he had an attack of gout, and took to his bed. 
Madame, Mademoiselle, nobles and Princes, urged 
him in vain ; Mazarin had found means to work on 
his jealousy by representing that Conde would be left 
undisputed master of both Court and Council ; and 
La Riviere, who, once his promotion was secure, asked 
nothing but peace, added arguments and entreaties. 
In a few days Gaston arose from his pretended illness, 
became reconciled to the Queen, and prepared to with- 
stand the Parliament in the coming debates, side by 
side with M. le Prince. 

With the passing of Martinmas (November i ith), the 
members of the Sovereign Courts set aside all semblance 
of restriction on their meetings. Their grievances, 
in truth, had met with little redress ; the Declaration 
had been published, but there was no sign, as yet, 
of any measure for carrying out its chief conditions. 
Days passed, and still no satisfaction appeared ; till 
at length, to quiet fresh murmurs, a general assembly 
was convened for December pth. The occasion promised 
excitement ; and when the Princes entered to take their 
places on the raised seats tapestried with fleur-de-lys, 
the great Chamber of St. Louis was filled to overflow- 
ing. The benches reserved for the Peers of France 
were crowded, and two councillors had unwillingly 
to yield their places to the Dukes of Brissac and St. 
Simon. Gaston was prepared to find some enjoyment 
in the debate ; he had a considerable gift for express- 
ing himself, and his habitual indifference kept him in 
good humour. Above all, he was conscious of appearing 
to infinitely greater advantage than M. le Prince, whose 
ready wit served him little when temper, judgment, 
and self-control were lost on the smallest provocation. 

The chief subjects named for discussion were those 
arising from the national expenditure. Mention was 
made, in particular, of the disorderly conduct of the 
troops, who, unpaid and undisciplined, were ravaging 
the country round Paris to support themselves, 
pillaging the inhabitants, and giving rise to reports 
that the King's ministers intended laying siege to his 
capital. Why, the Parliament demanded, had these 
men not been paid what was due to them, when millions 
had been levied for the support of the army ? Another 
scandal was the present administration of the King's 


Household, for which, again, large sums were continually 
set apart ; yet which had been so wastefully conducted 
that every department was in want, while the ladies 
and gentlemen in waiting, it was said, had scarcely 
enough to eat. This last statement would seem in- 
credible but for other witnesses than those quoted in 
the assembly ; a lady of the Court, writing to Marie 
de Gonzague, Queen of Poland, tells her of the fervent 
devotion of the Due de Gramont to one of the Queen's 
maids-of-honour ; and how, to commend himself to 
her, " he sends all kinds of eatables every day to her 
and her companions, who prefer that kind of gift to any 
other, seeing to what poor fare they are accustomed ". 1 
The councillors were not greatly concerned over the 
sufferings of the courtiers, but they were rightly pre- 
pared to attack a corrupt and extravagant system. 
They also had questions to put as to the treatment 
of certain officers of the King's body-guard who had 
lately been dismissed from their post, ostensibly on 
account of a brawl with the city guards, but in reality, 
it was suspected, as enemies of Mazarin. The person 
in authority, directly or indirectly responsible for mis- 
management in all matters dealing with the household, 
was none other than M. le Prince, in his hereditary 
capacity of l Grand Maitre de la Maison du Roi '. The 
office, in his case, was chiefly honorary, and the incident 
of dismissal had taken place independently of him, 
during his absence on the campaign ; but he was as 
little inclined to make excuse as to suffer remonstrance. 
All complaints as to the non-payment of the troops 
his own ' army of Flanders ' incensed him still further. 
The presumption of the l square caps ' in cross-examin- 
ing him, and their pretensions to decide what sum 
was necessary for maintaining the forces, seemed to 
him not only impertinent, but positively grotesque ; 
and he was soon as hotly engaged in making enemies 
as Mazarin could have hoped. With regard to the 
officers, he interrupted the president Laisne ; " using 
expressions ", says an auditor, " not often addressed 
to those gentlemen ", and declaring that "if he 
chose to dismiss any of his subordinates, he had 
the right to ' do so without being answerable to 
the Parliament ". Laisne, encouraged by the applause 
of the younger members, continued to point 

1 Madame de Langeron to the Queen of Poland, A .C., October 29, 1648. 


out the justice of his criticisms. Conde rose in his 
place, white with anger, and flung up his hand, in a 
gesture accepted as a threat. Whatever words he 
used were scarcely heard in the outcry that followed. 
Never had such an insult been offered to the assembly ; 
and it was with great difficulty that Mole, seconded by 
Gaston, could restore order for the debate to proceed. 
Conde afterwards denied having consciously threatened 
anyone ; but it was clear that he had been in no state 
to judge of his own actions. In vain his friends tried 
to excuse him, on the plea that this much-discussed 
gesture was habitual to him in moments of excitement, 
and had no special significance ; the general feeling 
was voiced in the answer of an outspoken councillor, 
that " if such was the case, it was a most unbecoming 
gesture, and the Prince ought to correct himself of 
it ". No denial or apology was made at the time ; 
the tumult gradually subsided, and the dangerous 
topic of the army was resumed. Conde at first 
objected, quite unjustly, that the Parliament had no 
right to express an opinion on military matters. Broussel 
rose to prove the contrary, was twice interrupted, and 
was only able through Monsieur's intervention to 
finish his speech. The climax was brought about by 
Deslandes-Payen, councillor of the ' enquetes ', who 
insisted that 800,000 francs a month should suffice for 
the pay and maintenance of all the forces now in any 
part of the kingdom ; twenty-five thousand foot and 
ten thousand horse. " Would you keep them yourself 
for that money?" asked the Prince. "I would, and 
for less ", answered Deslandes-Payen unabashed. " I 
would have as good fighting men as any in France ; 
and if any one of them stole so much as a chicken, I 
would have him hanged for a thief! " Other members 
made themselves heard, telling of fearful crimes and 
depredations committed by the troops ; till at length 
Viole addressed the assembly, with a sudden display 
of religious sentiment, real or assumed. No redress, 
he said, could be hoped for while the present system 
continued, and while Messieurs les Princes would not 
let their eyes be opened : " All we can do ", he con- 
cluded, "is to offer our prayers to the Holy Ghost 
for their better guidance and inspiration ". " That 
would be a good beginning ! n Conde retorted, u as 
though Monsieur and I could not guide ourselves 

1648] CONDfi'S SUGGESTION 251 

well enough without prayer ". This deplorably flippant 
speech was received with almost disproportionate horror. 
Goulas, the secretary in attendance on Monsieur, 
describes the fatal impression caused by such reckless- 
ness, " in a place where most speakers were accustomed 
to weigh each syllable " ; and how the Prince lost more 
credit in that moment's anger than he had gained in 
four great battles. 

Conde 's best friends and advisers were only too well 
aware of the extent to which his reputation would 
suffer ; the debate was scarcely closed before they ex- 
pended themselves in warnings and persuasions. Other 
meetings were convened on December i6th, i/th, and 
22nd ; but no conciliation seemed possible. The Prince 
was alternately exasperated by the independent attitude 
of the members, and bored beyond endurance by the 
length at which they expressed themselves ; he per- 
sistently ignored the rules of the assembly, and seldom 
missed an opportunity for putting himself in the wrong. 
The Queen and Mazarin nailed the news of each en- 
counter with unmixed joy. Conde would find himself 
irrevocably bound to the Court, and with his help all 
things might be accomplished. Designs for the siege 
of Paris, already suggested at the time of the King's 
journey to Rueil, were brought under immediate con- 
sideration. Retz gives a dramatic account of an inter- 
view which he states to have taken place on the evening 
of December 9th, when the Prince swore that he would 
teach the Parliament a lesson, and the Coadjutor, who 
for months past had heard rumours of a siege, made 
mention of the scheme as one impossible to carry out. 
Conde answered . swiftly : " We shall not take Paris like 
Dunkirk, with mines or by assault ; but if the bread 

from Gonesse were to fail for a week ! " Gonesse 

was a suburb of Paris from which large supplies of bread 
were daily brought into the town ; supplies which might 
easily be cut off by a cordon of troops. This idea of 
slow starvation, without further aggressive measures, 
had from the first commended itself to Mazarin ; it 
called for least immediate outlay, as well as for least 
show of violence. Conde, at heart, inclined to more 
prompt and characteristic action. He looked on the 
proposal concerning the ' bread of Gonesse ' as no 
better than a makeshift ; the plan he had laid before 
the Queen and her ministers was of another kind. The 


King, he said, must on no account leave Paris ; if 
the Palais-Royal could not be sufficiently protected, 
let him and the Queen be lodged in the fortified build- 
ings of the Arsenal, near to the Bastille and the Porte 
St. Antoine. The troops already round Paris should 
be strengthened by further detachments from the 
frontier and the provinces, and should be concentrated 
in the ' faubourg ' of St. Antoine outside the city gate. 
Then with an army of several thousand men, and the 
guns of the Bastille at her disposal, the Queen was to 
order the Parliament to leave Paris. If they refused, 
or if the citizens lent themselves to a repetition of the 
Broussel riots, the Porte St. Antoine would be opened 
to let in the troops, and barricades would be dealt with 
by artillery. No untrained crowds could withstand 
such an advance. The army, driving back the mob 
before them, would soon have reached the heart of the 
city ; the Parliamentary leaders would be seized, and 
the King would once more be master in his own capital. 

Such was Conde's suggestion ; a foreshadowing of 
that fight of St. Antoine which was to mark one of the 
great days of his life. But Mazarin, though he feared 
the Prince, feared bloodshed still more, and would 
neither give his own consent, nor allow the Queen to 
give hers. A few timid spirits asserted that the mere 
withdrawal of the Court from Paris would be enough, 
if persisted in, to quell all rebellion ; but it was obvious 
that months, if not years, must pass before such a 
scheme could take effect. The course of action finally 
agreed upon was a compromise ; more temperate than 
Conde's plan, but also, it must be confessed, less dignified. 
The King was not only to leave Paris ; he was to leave 
as a fugitive, travelling by night, with all the mystery 
of a conspiracy surrounding his movements. The 
Court was to be installed at St. Germain. The troops 
were to be reinforced, as Conde had intended ; but they 
were to do no more than form a cordon round the city 
walls, and cut off all convoys, from Gonesse or elsewhere. 
Rumours of this approaching force had already reached 
the Parliament, and in one of the December debates the 
councillor Coulon, ' grand frondeur ', spoke vehemently, 
to the effect that while they were wasting time in these 
unprofitable assemblies, an army was marching on 
Paris. The statement was true enough ; but Coulon 
was too ignorant of details to be able to prove it. He was 


instantly attacked by M. le Prince, who demanded the 
name of the officer in charge of these forces. Coulon, 
taken unawares, could only give the obscure title of 
a certain Colonel David : "I have commanded the 
King's armies for many years ", said the Prince, a 
veteran of seven-and-twenty, " but I never yet heard of 
a Colonel of that name ". And, following up his ad- 
vantage, he cast such ridicule upon the unfortunate 
Coulon and ' his unknown Colonel ', that the whole 
report was more or less discredited. 1 

While such means as these were used to banish 
suspicion, arrangements for the King's journey had 
been made in haste and secrecy. The time chosen was 
the night of January 5th-6th, when all good citizens 
would be engaged in celebrating the eve of Twelfth-Day, 
a festival much honoured in every class. Both at 
Court and in the city the air was full of rumours of a 
possible flight ; for the secret was necessarily known to 
many, and fragments of the truth could not fail to leak 
out. Nevertheless, it was successfully contrived that 
the actual moment of starting should be unknown till 
the last. The Queen herself deceived her ladies with 
complete success. She received them at supper in her 
private rooms, where a twelfth-cake was cut for the 
amusement of the King and his brother, and healths 
were drunk in hippocras. She laughed at the reports 
of her departure, spoke much of the entertainments she 
was to give in Paris during the next few days, and 
finally retired, as usual, for the night. An hour or 
two later the whole palace was astir. The Royal 
children were snatched from their beds and hurriedly 
dressed. Messengers were dispatched to the Luxem- 
bourg and to the Hotel de Conde, where the head of 
each House was expecting the summons ; and in an 
incredibly short space of time, a bewildered crowd of 
ladies, children, and attendants had been marshalled 
into carriages, and the whole convoy had set forth. 
Princesses of all ages were there, from Madame la 
Princesse the Dowager to ' Mademoiselle de Valois ', 2 
the youngest infant daughter of Monsieur. Even in the 
agitation of the moment, at two in the morning, and in 
pitchy darkness, Mademoiselle de Montpensier did not 
forget to dispute a place of honour with the elder 

1 Duchesse de Nemours, Memoir es. 

2 Fran9oise -Madeleine d Orleans ; born October, 1648. 


Princess of Conde ; but the Queen decided against her, 
and she yielded, observing pointedly " that she, being 
young, would give way to the old ".* Madame de 
Longueville, whose rebel sympathies had till now been 
kept secret, refused to stir from Paris. La Rochefou- 
cauld had communicated to her the state of their party, 
and she was only awaiting the first opportunity to 
take part openly with the Fronde. For the moment 
her health served as a convenient pretext, and there 
was no time to be lost in argument or persuasion. 
Conti, feebly resisting, was ordered off, like a child, by 
his formidable brother, and made the journey under 
strict supervision, in the Queen's own carriage. The 
Cardinal, eager for safety, was among the first on the 
road. Once fairly begun, the journey was marked by 
no incident. At daybreak, just as the citizens were 
awaking to discover their loss, the Queen alighted 
at St. Germain, and went, with the Princes and all her 
suite, to hear Mass in honour of the Epiphany. 

All through that day, and for many succeeding days, 
the confusion and excitement were indescribable. At 
St. Germain the sense of adventure was heightened 
by the fact that no preparations could be made for 
the arrival of the Court, and that it had been practically 
impossible for most of the fugitives to bring luggage 
with them. There were no beds, no carpets, no 
curtains ; " even the King and Queen ", Jean Vallier, 
the maitre d 'hotel, writes, horror-stricken, " were 
without these necessaries for their sacred persons ". 
The windows were unglazed, and the weather was 
piercingly cold. Every hour fresh tidings arrived from 
Paris, brought sometimes by ladies or gentlemen of the 
Court making their escape to join the Queen ; some- 
times by trusted servants, sent to fetch out what goods 
they could carry unobserved. This was the only safe 
way of conveying personal property ; for several waggon- 
loads, ordered to follow their owners, were set upon and 
pillaged by the crowd. The most adventurous journey 
was that of the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres, who travelled 
in a cart, disguised as a peasant-woman ; but more 
than one Court lady passed through new and unpleasant 
experiences. Madame de Motteville and her sister, 
on their first effort to escape, were set upon by the 
mob and turned back, half-dead with fright ; their 
"*. a Montpensier, Mtmoires, i. 197. 


second, and successful, attempt was not made till 
many weeks later. Mademoiselle reaped great ad- 
vantage, and a splendid opportunity for patronage, 
from her unfailing popularity with the Parisians. Her 
servants and carriages, alone, were allowed to pass 
unmolested ; so that the Queen herself had recourse 
to them, with their mistress's permission, to bring a 
supply of clothing from the Palais-Royal. 

Two days after the King's flight, deputations 
arrived, both from the Parliament and from the muni- 
cipal authorities of the Hotel de Ville, and implored 
the King's return in terms so moving, that all present, 
with the exception of the Queen and M. le Prince, were 
affected to tears The only answer granted to these 
petitioners was, that the matter lay entirely in the hands 
of ' Messieurs du Parlement '. Paris, in the present 
state of affairs, could not hold both them and the 
King ; if the Parliament would consent to withdraw, 
the Court might be reinstalled ; but otherwise the 
town was no safe place of habitation. The negotiations 
were, in point of fact, purely formal ; each side was 
actively preparing for war ; and it remained only to 
be seen how many Princes and nobles would be won 
by hatred of Mazarin, admiration for Madame de 
Longueville, or any other private reason, to forsake 
their natural allegiance and become ' good Frondeurs '. 
Defections began to be nervously looked for at Court. 
More than once some great noble disappeared, giving 
an innocent pretext for spending a few hours in Paris, 
and was next heard of as offering his services to the 
Parliament. The Due d'Elbceuf, of the House of 
Lorraine, was the first of these deserters ; he had 
brought no money with him, he said, and must fetch 
what was needed. Then followed a bold and un- 
expected stroke : the departure of Conti and his 
brother-in-law, Longueville. Conde had seen to it 
that his family reached St. Germain in safety ; but, 
once arrived, he had found it impossible to mount 
guard over them ; his duties as Command er-in-Chief 
of the army about to surround Paris, occupied his time 
and took him to all the outlying suburbs in turn. Conti 
dared not disobey the ' grand frere ' to his face, but 
he watched for an opportunity, which was not long 
in coming. M. le Prince was at Aubervilliers super- 
intending the distribution of the troops, when, on 


the morning of January nth, the Princess Dowager 
appeared before the Queen, and falling on her knees 
exclaimed, with tears, that her younger son had turned 
traitor ; his sister had led him astray, and she could 
only entreat forgiveness for them both. Conti, Longue- 
ville, and La Rochefoucauld had left St. Germain 
during the night and travelled to Paris ; where, at 
that same moment, they were being received with joy 
by the Coadjutor. The Queen was at first dismayed ; 
not so much by the loss of these three renegades, as 
by the instant suspicion that Conde had connived at 
their escape, and that the expedition to Aubervilliers 
had been merely a cloak for his own desertion. But 
by evening all doubts were set at rest. M. le Prince 
arrived like a whirlwind ; furious that his orders should 
have been defied, and resenting Conti J s action no less 
as a breach of family discipline, than as treason towards 
the Crown. His presence, his unmistakable wrath and 
astonishment, and the scorn he poured upon the 
whole party of the Parliament, acted like an enchant- 
ment on the drooping spirits of the Court. Mazarin 
was said to have been on the point of flight, but the 
Prince would hear of no such faint-hearted measures ; 
he assured the Cardinal of his protection, and declared 
that he would bring him, as well as the King, back to 
Paris in triumph. Soon all St. Germain adopted his 
tone, and scoffed at the rebels ; till it was considered the 
height of absurdity and bad taste to speak of the war 
as a matter for serious concern. 

Conde 's personal revenge on the offending members 
of his family was entirely characteristic. After a 
blaze of anger he collected himself, put on an air of 
complete unconcern, and began steadily and merci- 
lessly to hold them up to derision. Conti J s position 
gave ample occasion for such gibes. He who, till now, 
had been allowed no role but that of the submissive 
' little brother ' the prospective cleric suddenly found 
himself a hero in the sight of all the people of Paris, 
and was elated beyond measure at the change. To 
the frondeurs, the winning of even the least among 
Princes of the Blood was a triumph indeed ! All the 
honours that could be devised were showered upon him, 
beginning with that of Generalissime of the Army of 
Paris ; the citizen army of train-bands, and militia 
regiments, which was being hastily levied, under a 

1 649] THE ' ARMY OF PARIS ' 257 

banner bearing the device, c Regem nostrum quaerimus '. 
In return, Conti posed extravagantly as the defender of 
the people's rights ; encouraged by a flood of panegyric 
writings : ( filoge de Monseigneur le Prince de Conti ' ; 
1 Armandus Armans ', and so forth. Even more grati- 
fying was the jealousy of Elbceuf ; who, arriving two 
days earlier in Paris, had been appointed General, only 
to find himself supplanted on the first appearance of 
a prince of higher rank. It would be hard to say 
whether the idea of this burgher army, or that of his 
brother as its Commander-in-Chief, appeared more 
supremely ludicrous to the mind of M. le Prince. 
Nothing gave him, and his chief associates, greater 
delight than the news that Retz, notwithstanding his 
profession, had raised a regiment of cavalry in his own 
name, to be called, after his titular Archbishopric, the 
' regiment of Corinth '. Gramont, about to take up his 
post with the troops at St. Cloud, begged his officers to 
catch him a ' Corinthian ', if they could find one, that 
he might see what manner of creature it was. Conti 
was spared at no point ; even his physical disadvan- 
tages were turned to account, and many were the taunts 
levelled at his crooked back and small stature. Conde, 
passing one day through a crowded ante-room of the 
palace, saw a tame monkey chained up to the fire-place, 
and saluted the animal respectfully : ' Serviteur au 
Generalissime des Parisiens ! ' 1 

The frondeurs were not behindhand in mockery ; 
they answered by attacks on the Queen and the 
Cardinal, till the ' Mazarinades ' became a literature in 
themselves. The Prince, for his share, was besieged 
by open letters, railing against his support of Mazarin, 
which was represented as the height of disloyalty to 
the King. Remonstrances, in prose and in verse, 
were showered upon him ; some serious and patriotic ; 
some frankly scurrilous ; but mostly pointing out that, 
in his present position, he had everything to lose and 
nothing to gain : 

" Conde, quelle sera ta gloire 
Quand tu gagneras la victoire 
Sur le juge et sur le marchand ? 

Veux-tu faire dire a ta mere, 
' Ah, que mon grand fils est mediant ! 

II a battu son petit frere ! ' " 

1 Montglat, Memoires, 


As for Monsieur, his name plays a small part in poems 
and pamphlets, considering the station he occupied ; 
but that the Parisians had fairly gauged his attitude 
is evident from certain verses, in which France is 
represented as calling to him for help, and receiving 
his placid answer : 

" ' Va, France, loin de moi gemir ', 
Lui dit Gaston ; ' Je veux dormir ; 
Je naquis en dormant. J'y veux passer ma vie. 
Jamais de m'eveiller il ne me prit envie. 
Toi, ma femme, et ma fille, y perdez vos efforts ; 
Je dors ' ". 

Mademoiselle's vain attempts to infuse some of her 
own high spirit into her father's actions were an open 
secret. Madame was a less well-known and less popular 
figure ; but, as a Princess of Lorraine, she was never 
slow to take up a quarrel against a Bourbon King. 

Conde, for all his laughter, went to work on the 
investment of Paris with no less professional care 
and vigour than was his custom. Gramont was posted 
between St. Cloud and Meudon to hold the road from 
Orleans ; the Due de Noailles, captain of the King's 
Guards, at Corbeil, to cut off supplies arriving by river ; 
and the Marshal du Plessis at St. Denis. The Parisians 
disdainfully commended the besieging force to these 
local Saints 

" Qu'ils prient bien, nos ennemis, 
St. Germain, St. Cloud, St. Denis, 
Nous avons pour nous Notre-Dame ! " 

Never, so his officers admitted, had the Prince worked 
them or himself harder than in these winter months ; 
day and night they followed him, over roads heavy with 
snow, and marvelled at the sheer nervous force that 
sustained him. Twelve thousand men seemed few in- 
deed, when the whole of Paris had to be surrounded ; 
and the state of the frontier, together with signs of revolt 
in the provinces, made it impossible to draw further 
reinforcements from either source. But what was 
lacking in numbers, Conde did his utmost to make up 
in energy. Before many days had passed, the citizens 
of the lower class looked on him as neither more nor 
less than a demon of cruelty and activity. Legends 
were circulated of his terrifying habits as that he lived, 
by preference, on the ears of the people of Paris, which 

1 649] THE ' FRONDEUSES ' 259 

his soldiers cut off and brought to him ; a notion which 
amused him so much that he encouraged it rather than 

Within the walls of the city was the ' army of 
Paris ', between twenty and thirty thousand strong ; 
beautiful to behold, and daily paraded in the sight of 
the inhabitants. The Commander-in-Chief reviewed 
his forces every few days, and the ladies, especially, 
admired their courageous bearing, and the ribbons on 
their uniforms. Each hour seemed to add to the 
ascendancy of the ' frondeuses ', who thoroughly enjoyed 
their situation, and suffered no more hardship during 
the siege than was necessary to create an agreeable 
feeling of heroism. 1 The passion for political influence, 
which had succeeded the literary ambitions of the 
' precieuses ', was now fairly alight. Madame de 
Longueville and her stepdaughter were in Paris from 
the first ; so also was the Duchesse de Bouillon, 2 whose 
power over her husband was chiefly responsible for his 
secession from the Court. Longueville had the happy 
inspiration of sending his wife and family to lodge at 
the Hotel de Ville, and declaring them the hostages 
of his good faith with the Parliament. Bouillon did 
the like ; and there followed the well-known scene 
described by Retz, who fully appreciated both its 
humour and its practical value ; when these two 
ladies, " both beautiful as the day, and even more 
beautiful for appearing dishevelled (though in reality 
they were not so), stood with their children on the 
steps of the Hotel de Ville, in a group so touching that 
the crowd cheered, and wept, to see them ". No oppor- 
tunity was missed for appealing to popular sentiment. 
The christening of Madame de Longueville 's younger 
son born in January, 1650, at the Hotel de Ville was 
made the occasion of a great public rejoicing. Le 
Feron, ' prevot des marchands ', representing the City 
of Paris, stood godfather to the little Prince, witri 
Madame de Bouillon as godmother ; and the name 
chosen was ' Charles-Paris '. 3 

1 " A Paris, pendant la famine, 
La plus belle se contentait, 
D'un simple boisson de farine ". 

2 Eleonore de Bergh ; married to Frederic-Maurice de la Tour d' Auvergne, 
Due de Bouillon, elder brother of Turenne. 

3 Charles-Paris d'Orleans, Comte de Dunois ; killed at the passage of 
the Rhine, 1672. 


Conti, as Generalissime, could show, among the 
names of his officers many of the highest in France ; 
Luynes, Brissac, Bouillon, La Rochefoucauld, and 
La Tremoille, Due de Noirmoutiers. But of all the 
triumphs of the Fronde, none was greater, or, in a sense, 
more deplorable, than the conquest of Turenne. The 
Due de Bouillon, the Marshal's elder brother, and the 
head of his House, had early transferred his allegiance. 
Conde, knowing the strength of family influence, wrote 
instantly to Turenne, who at that time was still in Alsace 
with the * army of the Rhine ' ; urging on him his duty, 
and at the same time professing entire confidence in 
him : " I can almost answer for you that you will not be 
shaken by this news, and that you will persist in your 
loyalty to the King and Queen. I think, too, that 
consideration for me may have some weight with you "- 1 
Turenne 's embarrassed answer shows that the appeal 
was not without effect ; twice he speaks of his deep 
regret at having had no personal interview on the subject 
with the Prince, " for you know my heart, in all that 
concerns you " ; but even had the meeting been possible, 
it may be doubted whether Conde's persuasions could 
have triumphed over those of Bouillon and Madame de 
Longueville. To Mazarin, the Marshal wrote in plainer 
and less respectful terms, intimating that no support 
was to be looked for from him ; and so completely was 
he dominated by his new allegiance, that only prompt 
action on the Cardinal's part saved the whole army of 
the Rhine from being marched to the relief of Paris. 
Turenne's disaffection was no sooner made known than 
sums of money were forwarded, and promises scattered 
broadcast, both to officers and men ; pensions and 
rewards were offered to all who were found faithful to 
the King. Erlach, Governor of Brisach, was ordered to 
summon the troops to join him, and declare himself 
their Commander-in-Chief. As a result, Turenne had 
scarcely crossed the frontier into France before he found 
himself deserted by his army, and was forced to retreat 
into Holland, where he awaited the conclusion of peace. 

Thus the Fronde gained little or no practical advan- 
tage from having led one of the King's greatest subjects 
to brand himself a rebel. Failing the presence of 
Turenne, the Generals of Paris were more conspicuous 
for social rank and for number than for efficiency. 

M.C., 1649. 


Some few did not lack experience, and had served in 
campaigns under Conde himself ; among them, Noir- 
moutiers, who had joined the Fronde out of pique, 
never having forgiven certain words addressed to him 
by the Prince after the disorder on the morning of 
Lens ; and Lillebonne, the second of Elboeuf's three 
sons, who had enrolled himself beside his father and 
brothers. Longueville had departed to raise further 
support in Normandy, where he ruled as Governor ; 
but there remained, besides the officers already named, 
Beaufort, La Mothe-Houdancourt, 1 and La Boulaye, a 
connection and protege of Bouillon, all demanding 
important posts. Each felt that his consent to serve 
conferred a favour on the citizen army ; and it needed 
all the Coadjutor's skill, and all Mole's firmness and 
courage, to deal with their countless and bewildering 
jealousies. There seems to have been no formal 
declaration of war ; but hostilities may be said to have 
begun on January I3th, when La Tremblay, Governor 
of the Bastille, surrendered his fortress at Bouillon's 
summons. This first success of the ' frondeurs ' was not 
soon to be repeated. The occasional sorties made by 
one or other of their many Generals were conducted, as 
a rule, with extreme caution, but were not often glorious 
to the army of Paris, most of whose regiments had never 
learnt to stand fire. On January 29th was fought 
the skirmish known profanely to the Court as ' First 
Corinthians ' ; when the Coadjutor's horsemen, com- 
manded by a near kinsman of his own, fled ignominiously 
before a detachment of Conde's troops, without even 
waiting to engage. But in spite of this and other 
humiliating incidents, the King's cause was by no means 
always in the ascendant. The chief advantage of the 
besieged lay in the sympathy felt for them by the 
inhabitants of all the country for miles round Paris. 
Despoiled and terrorised by Conde's soldiers, the peasants 
feared and hated him no less than did the citizens, 
and secretly gave his enemies all the help in their power. 
More than one convoy was passed in by their means ; 
for not even Conde could watch every road in person. 
There were also the ' hotteurs ' ; peasants who came 
in singly, with baskets, or ' hottes f , full of provisions, 
which they sold to great advantage in the town. News 
of the triumph which greeted the arrival of each 
1 Due de Card one ; see Chapter IX. 


convoy, and of the victorious airs assumed by such 
commanders as Beaufort and La Boulaye, who were 
acclaimed as conquerors- for haying driven in a few 
sheep or oxen, gave M. le Prince infinite entertainment, 
and many good stories wherewith to amuse the Queen ; l 
nevertheless, as some of the Court observed, even while 
they joined in the ridicule, the Parisians did unquestion- 
ably gain their end, and delay matters, by these mock- 
heroic exploits. 

After three weeks of exhausting, though almost 
bloodless, warfare, Conde found occasion for a decisive 
stroke. One post on the outskirts of Paris was held 
for the Fronde by a force whose men and officers alike 
could boast professional training. Clanleu, marechal- 
de-camp, had served in the King's army for close on 
fifteen years, had lost Dixmuyden to the Spaniards in 
the campaign of 1647, and, believing himself unjustly 
treated by the Government, had joined the Parliament in 
revenge. He was now firmly established in the town, or 
rather village, of Charenton, holding open the river 
Marne, at the point of junction with the Seine. Under 
him were two thousand, or more, deserters from different 
regiments, all tried and experienced in war ; the real 
nucleus of the citizen army, and the only troops whose 
resistance need be taken seriously into account. If 
Charenton could be seized, and Clanleu 's force dispersed, 
the Parisians must surely be brought to surrender. Three 
thousand men were told off for the attack, and to Chatillon 
was given the coveted distinction of leading them. The 
Prince had asked a Marshal's baton for him, after 
Lens, but the Queen still hesitated to grant it ; and 
this exploit was to turn the scale in his favour. On 
February /th, in a night of fog and hard frost, Chatillon 's 
infantry were concentrated in the Forest of Vincennes, 
preparing to reach Charenton at daybreak. Conde, 
with a force of between two and three thousand cavalry, 
was to take up his position on the rising ground by 
Conflans, between Charenton and Paris ; he was not 
without hope that the citizens might sally out to 
Clanleu 's assistance, and that their warlike pretensions 
might be once for all demolished. But, much as he 
despised them, he had reckoned their courage too 
high. The army of Paris was indeed warned of his 
movements by a peasant spy ; one of the * hotteurs ', 
1 Madame de Motteville, Mtmoires. 


who, coming from Gonesse by night, saw Conde's 
troops marching from Vincennes with torches, through 
the fog, and hurried in to give the alarm. The drums 
of the city beat to arms, and at daylight twenty 
thousand men, commanded by Elbceuf, marched out 
of the gates amidst a scene of wild enthusiasm. Their 
career was short and ignominious. From the out- 
skirts of the fortifications they gained a first distant 
view of the Royal cavalry, drawn up in line. At the 
sight, and at the thought of the terrible Prince who 
was to meet them, their spirit failed ; the greater 
number turned and beat a retreat into Paris. The 
rest made no further advance, but waited, where they 
stood, till evening, and then returned to their quarters ; 
when even the townspeople received them with anger 
and derision. The rear-guard, it was said, went no 
farther than the Place Royale, 1 and spent their time 
in contemplating the statue of Louis xm, then newly 
erected, which stands there to this day. 

If in Paris there was farce, there was stern reality 
at Charenton. Clanleu had fortified the whole village, 
barricading the streets ; so that even when all outer 
defences were destroyed, the town was still not won. 
Chatillon ordered a charge on the barricades, and 

Erepared to lead it himself, in spite of remonstrances 
-om his friend Chavagnac, who vainly represented 
that this was no duty for an officer of his 
rank. The charge was made ; so vigorously, that five 
barricades were carried. Then came a check, and a 
hand-to-hand fight, in a street leading to the river, 
where Clanleu himself was posted with a handful of 
men ; a struggle under difficulties, for the ground was 
slippery with ice. Clanleu was beaten back, refusing 
to yield ; "he would sooner die there ", he said, 
" than on the scaffold as a rebel ". Chatillon, in the 
moment of victory, was shot through the spine by a 
musket-ball fired from a window. Mortally wounded, 
he was still conscious, and ordered Persan, second in 
command, to lead another charge. Persan obeyed, 
and the men, who had seen their leader fall, needed 
no bidding to avenge him. Streets and houses were 
cleared of defenders ; Clanleu was killed and his 
force annihilated ; some few only escaped, crossing the 
river by boats, or even on floating pieces of ice, 

1 Now called the Place des Vosges. 


Chatillon was carried to Vincennes, where the Prince, 
arriving in haste from Conflans, was met by the news 
that his friend's life was despaired of, and gave way 
to an agony of grief as uncontrolled as all his other 
emotions. The dying man lingered for a day and a 
night ; and during those hours Conde scarcely left 
him. The Duchess Isabelle, hurriedly summoned, came 
in time to see her husband alive, and to hear him ask 
her forgiveness ; for Chatillon, as inconstant as he 
was brave and gifted, had passed through more than 
one great passion since the time of his romantic elope- 
ment ; and on the day that he fell, wore round his 
arm, as a token, the blue ribbon garter of Mademoiselle 
de Guerchy, most beautiful of the Queen's maids-of- 
honour. Of all the ' damoiseaux ' of Chantilly who 
had grown up with him, Conde had valued none more 
than Chatillon ; and in Paris the loss was interpreted 
as the judgment of Heaven falling on the Prince for 
his support of Mazarin. Pamphlets were published, 
with every detail, real or imagined, of the death-bed ; 
and it was persistently asserted that Chatillon in his 
last moments had solemnly addressed M. le Prince, 
assuring him that he died his true servant, and com- 
mending all family interests to his care ; but above 
all, imploring him to amend his way of life, and to 
desert the Cardinal, " who was a scoundrel, unworthy 
of such protection ". The violence of Conde's grief 
was short-lived ; it was the extravagant emotion of 
an over-wrought, undisciplined nature. At the first 
moment he was so much overcome as to seem incapable 
of thought or action ; but according to Bussy, who 
was serving under him, " he knew well that it was 
unfitting for a General in command of an army to 
appear sorrowful and dejected " ; and since, in such 
matters, he was never known to take a middle course, 
he went, twelve hours afterwards, to supper with his 
officers, and caroused with them as though he had 
not a care in the world. Only, when a few days 
later Chatillon was buried with great pomp at St. 
Denis, the Prince, whose hard-heartedness was the 
talk of Paris, stood among the mourners, with tears 
running down his face ; a fact considered worthy of 
record in the Registers of the Hotel de Ville. All the 
Court lamented this last worthy scion of the great 
House of Coligny, and the resentment rose so high 


against Mazarin, who was held responsible for the 
war, that for a short time he scarcely dared to show 
himself even at St. Germain. Madame de Chatillon 
was perhaps among the least afflicted at her husband's 
death. Since their marriage, her flirtations had been 
almost as notorious as his ; and the ladies who paid 
her visits of condolence, noted indignantly that she 
was dressed with far more elaboration than her mourning 
required ! Her influence over Conde had not yet 
developed ; even the easy moral code of the time 
had recognised his friendship with Chatillon as a 
barrier ; but her beauty and intellect needed nothing 
save opportunity to prove irresistible. 

The fight at Charenton was the only serious en- 
counter in the ' war of Paris '. Before the end of 
February the ardour both of the besieged and be- 
sieging forces had considerably cooled. The Parisians 
were out of conceit with their troops, whom they 
perceived to be useless, as well as expensive to maintain ; 
and the poorer citizens were suffering genuine privations. 
On the other hand, the officers of the King's army 
were thoroughly tired of the siege, which provided a 
maximum of work with a minimum of distinction. 
1 If you do not die immediately of hunger, we shall 
all die very soon of exhaustion ", wrote the incorrigible 
Bussy to his cousin, Madame de Sevigne ; " and 
moreover, I have the greatest impatience to see you. 
If Mazarin 'had a cousin like you in Paris, either I am 
much mistaken, or peace would be made at any price ". 
Certainly it was proved that the Fronde had no troops 
able to stand before Conde ; Brie-Comte-Robert, another 
outpost of the city, was captured on February zoth. 
But it was not upon the ' army of Paris ', nor even 
upon the growing disaffection in the provinces, that 
Retz and his most favoured associates relied for 
support. They had already, for some weeks, been 
in active communication with the Archduke. A secret 
envoy, in the shape of a Bernardine friar, had actually 
arrived in Paris ; and Retz, aided and abetted by 
Bouillon, his chief tool, had disguised this messenger 
as a Spanish nobleman, and presented him to the 
Parliament as an ambassador. The imposture was a 
success, inasmuch as it alarmed the Queen and the 
Cardinal, but the Coadjutor, on this occasion, had 
overreached himself ; for the more moderate party 


in the Parliament shrank from such an extreme 
measure as treating, in their own name, with a 
hostile foreign power. Mole's patriotism revolted, 
and, notwithstanding opposition from Conti, Beaufort, 
and Elboeuf, peace negotiations with the Court 
were resolutely set on foot. Monsieur, dissatisfied 
with the small share of importance that had fallen to 
him during the war, was now once more foremost in 
the reception of deputations. Briefly, the Parisians 
were bent upon the King's return, but demanded 
Mazarin's banishment ; whereas the Queen was resolved 
not to set foot in Paris except with her minister in 
attendance. Neither party was strong enough to 
impose its own terms without compromise ; but 
both were sufficiently anxious for peace to be willing 
to concede a few points. The nobles of the Fronde, 
led by Beaufort, were vehemently opposed to any 
peace with the Sicilian tyrant ; but their outcry was 
mainly prompted by a determination to sell their sub- 
mission as dearly as possible. Their special representa- 
tive, the Comte de Maure, arrived at St. Germain at the 
close of the deliberations, uttering threats and protests 
so extravagant that they could only be received with 
ridicule ; and the Court rang with the ' triolets ' which 
Conde himself was believed to have improvised : 

"C'est un tigre affame de sang, 
Que ce brave Comte de Maure ; 
Quand il combat au premier rang, 
C'est un tigre affame de sang. 
Mais il ne s'y trouve pas souvent ; 
C'est pourquoi Conde vit encore. 
C'est un tigre affame de sang, 
Que ce brave Comte de Maure". 

The nobles had purposely chosen an envoy of serious 
mind, who played his part with genuine conviction ; 
but they had no real expectation of Mazarin's dis- 
missal. Maure was instructed to declare that if the 
' enemy of the State ' were banished, every Prince or 
noble would submit unconditionally. Failing this, a 
list was to be put forward of the individual terms de- 
manded by each frondeur of rank or consideration ; 
terms as shamelessly rapacious and self-seeking as could 
well be imagined. These, with a few exceptions, were 
granted ; while the Parliament, as a body, when the 
Peace of Rueil was signed on March i2th, gained 

1 649] THE PEACE OF RUEIL 267 

nothing but a repetition, in slightly modified form, of 
the Declaration of October. 

The House of Conde benefited largely through the 
conditions granted to Conti and Longueyille. The 
name of Turenne, unfortunately for his reputation, figures 
among the rest ; but his character for loyalty was gradu- 
ally re-established, thanks, in part, to Conde's energetic 
representations : " I can assure you that I have sounded 
M. de Turenne on all points, and found nothing but 
the most honest and sincere feelings of a good subject of 
the King". 1 The Marshal, on arriving at Court, went 
first to M. le Prince, as to his protector, and was pre- 
sented by him to the King and to the Cardinal. The 
Court had so far triumphed that Mazarin continued in 
power, but his position had never been less secure ; he 
was more than ever dependent on Conde, whose personal 
feelings towards him were merged in the determination 
to prove his own authority. Mazarin might be despic- 
able, a coward, and a foreigner ; but the Prince 
had sworn to make the Parisians accept him, if only 
as a punishment to them. The words were a boast 
rather than a promise, and as such were the more bound 
to be fulfilled. 

The Queen showed no haste in returning to Paris, 
where, at first, she might have met with a somewhat 
unfavourable reception ; for the citizens, hearing that 
Mazarin still reigned, cried out that the Parliament 
had betrayed them. Pamphlets and ' vaudevilles ' were 
more than ever coarse and insulting ; and Retz, whose 
policy was to punish attacks on the Queen, while en- 
couraging those on the Cardinal, found it impossible 
to make a distinction between the two. The Court 
withdrew to Compiegne, and Conde to his government of 
Burgundy. A suggestion that he should resume the 
command in Flanders, tentatively put forward by 
Mazarin, met with no favour in his eyes ; for it appeared 
that the only enterprise to be sanctioned was the siege of 
Cambrai, which he judged impracticable. He returned 
to his civil duties ; while his substitute, the Comte 
d'Harcourt, who undertook the siege, was forced to raise 
it after ten days. The formal reconciliation with Conti 
and with Madame de Longueville took place, by mutual 
agreement, at Chaillot, a country house of the Comte 
de Bassompierre ; Conde went, alone, to meet his 

1 Conde to Mazarin, A.C., July, 1649. 


brother and sister, talked with them for two hours, 
and finally rode back to Paris by the side of 
Madame de Longueville's carriage. " But they still 
fear some treachery on his part ", wrote the Princess 
Palatine to the Queen of Poland, " for he hates 
them ", 1 Conti submitted under protest to the loss 
of his late dignity, and found himself once more 
treated as a schoolboy ; forced, not without ' beaucoup 
de grimaces '", to dine at the King's table, with Mazarin 
as a fellow-guest. The Cardinal, obsequious by nature, 
left nothing undone, outwardly, to ingratiate himself 
with the frondeurs on their reappearance at Court ; 
all the while dreading nothing so much as the State 
entry into Paris, which he foresaw to be inevitable. 
' La Palatine ', in her letter, adds that a date has been 
fixed for the return of the Court, but that "the Cardinal 
is in such fear, that they may possibly change their 
plans, and, to tell the truth, I believe he may really run 
some risk ". Thus the summer passed ; till at length 
it was evident that the journey, however dangerous, 
could not be indefinitely delayed. The people called 
for their King with ceaseless persistence, and it was 
clear that further postponement might bring about a 
renewal of war ; in addition, Conde, tired of fulfilling 
civil duties at Dijon, reappeared at Compiegne, full 
of impatience to make good his word. His urgency 
carried the day. On August I7th the King and Queen 
left Compiegne ; and on the evening of the next day 
nearly the whole population of Paris sallied out, with 
tumultuous rejoicing, to escort them into the town. 
' La personne du Roi ' was restored to his subjects, and 
all else was forgotten ; the Queen was as loudly ac- 
claimed as her son. The long hours spent on the 
road ; the heat, the noise, and the overpowering 
enthusiasm of the crowd, are feelingly recorded by 
Mademoiselle de Montpensier, who was one of no fewer 
than eight persons travelling in the Queen's coach. 
Never, so Mademoiselle affirms, had she passed through 
a more trying experience ; not even the gratification of 
the triumph could atone for its intense discomfort. 
Most demonstrative of all were the fishwives, or 
1 harengeres ', who surrounded the Queen and laid 
hands on her, promising her their undying devotion, 
and showering blessings on the King, whose boyish 
1 A.C., August, 1649. 

1649] THE KING'S RETURN 269 

good looks and perfect self-possession filled the crowd 
with delight. Among the frantic shouts of ' Vive le 
Roi ! la Reine ! ' another cry was heard ' Voila le 
Mazarin ! ' as the Cardinal was seen at the window 
of the Royal carriage ; and, facing him, the unmis- 
takable silhouette of M. le Prince. Mazarin had taken 
the precaution of sending money, beforehand, to be 
distributed among the people in his name ; and either 
for this reason, or because of the august company 
in which he travelled, he met with no ill-usage ; there 
were even a few cries of ' Vive le Cardinal ! ' 

Conde, taking leave of the King and Queen that 
evening at the Palais-Royal, expressed himself happy at 
having fulfilled his promise. The Queen answered before 
the whole Court : " You have done such service to my 
son and myself, that we should indeed be ungrateful if 
we could ever forget it ". As he left the Palace one of 
the Prince's household, well versed in Court politics, 
observed to him that he had laid the Crown under too 
great an obligation, and that he would be in danger 
of suffering for it : " Certainly I shall ", answered 
Conde, who at that moment felt able to defy the 
machinations of either Court or Parliament, " but I 
have done as I said ! " 



THE reconciliation at Chaillot was more sincere and 
lasting than the Princess Palatine had foreseen. Policy 
and family feeling, on this occasion, worked to the same 
end. For his brother, Conde had indeed no feeling 
save contempt ; but Madame de Longueville, in spite 
of quarrels, had never entirely lost her influence over him. 
The House of Conde, thus reunited, faced the world 
from the centre of a small circle of intimates ; envied, 
feared, and hated. The society led by Madame de 
Longueville, and chiefly frequented by M. le Prince, 
consisted practically of the Chantilly clique, in a 
later stage of development ; shorn of many graces, now 
that politics had usurped the place of literature, but still 
keeping all the exclusiveness and intolerance which 
have distinguished such cliques since the beginning of 
time. Conde, thanks to his habit of ridicule and the 
' unruly evil ' of his tongue, was a past-master in the art 
of making enemies ; and all his faction followed suit, 
recklessly insolent, in the hour of their leader's 
triumph. " They held it ludicrous to make any effort to 
please ", so Mademoiselle de Longueville writes of 
her stepmother's family; "they put on such mocking 
airs, and made such insulting comments, that no one 
could endure them. If they received visitors, it was 
with a manner so openly bored and contemptuous as 
to make it plain that they only wished to be rid of them. 
Those who came for an audience of M. le Prince, what- 
ever their rank, were kept waiting, sometimes for hours, 
in his ante-room ; and often, in the end, he sent the 
whole company away, and saw no one. . . . But if 
the hatred they inspired was great, the fear of them 

was still greater ; so much so, that it could only be 



realised by those who had seen it "^ Members of 
Conde 's own household felt their position to be perilous 
indeed. His gentlemen-in- waiting were mostly chosen 
for their wits ; but woe betide them if a lively humour 
carried them too far ! St. fivrempnd had lost his post 
not long since, when, after an evening spent in conversa- 
tion with M. le Prince, he propounded to the Due de 
Rohan the suggestion that ' the spirit of ridicule, 
carried to excess, made those who indulged in it themselves 
ridiculous ". That word was one which Conde, like 
others of his disposition, never suffered to be applied to 
himself. The offender's dismissal followed promptly ; 
'and though the interrupted friendship was presently re- 
paired, other circumstances prevented his ever holding 
office again. During the Fronde, St. Evremond served 
against the Prince's party with both sword and pen ; 
but it is fair to add that, of M. le Prince himself, he 
writes with admiration, and with no apparent sense 
of injury. 

Towards Mazarin, Conde bore himself every day 
with more open disdain ; the Cardinal could frame 
no scheme, in public or private matters, without dread- 
ing lest M. le Prince might see fit, as the onlookers 
said, to ' faire le mechant '. Even the Queen he treated 
with scant respect, as her dependence on Mazarin 
grew more apparent. Mademoiselle, still cherishing 
a dutiful aversion for the head of a rival House, found 
his long-standing disregard of her claims less tolerable 
than ever. She had been ill of small-pox in the course 
of the summer ; and the Prince not only omitted to 
send formal inquiries at the time, but, when she 
reappeared at Court, rallied her, making light of 
her illness, and telling her that he believed it had 
been feigned. Mademoiselle had not much more liking 
for being laughed at than Conde himself. " I did not 
receive the joke well ", she says with dignity, " and 
he observed it " ; but it may be doubted whether his 
pleasure in it was thereby diminished. To the King 
alone Conde, as became a true Bourbon, was unfailingly 
deferential ; although Louis, at ten years old, felt 
some awe of his cousin, and was not prepared to assert 
his own rights. One day, at Compiegne, M. le Prince, 
on his way to visit the Queen, passed through the room 
where the King, with a tutor, was at lessons. Louis 
1 Duchesse de Nemours, Mtmoires. 


at once left his seat and stood talking to the Prince, 
hat in hand. Laporte, the confidential servant in 
attendance, was much perturbed ; and, after vainly 
urging the tutor to protest, ventured to whisper to 
the King to put on his hat. " Laporte is right, Sire ", 
said Conde, " Your Majesty should be covered. You 
do us enough honour by returning our salute ". Already 
he had shown a keen interest in the character of this 
boy who was to rule him ; soon after his return from 
the campaign of Lens, he took occasion to question 
the Abbe de Beaumont, one of the King's teachers, 
and asked him, very seriously, for a true and detailed 
account of his Royal pupil. Beaumont gave emphatic 
assurance that the King would not disappoint any of 
the great hopes founded on him. " I am glad of it ", 
answered Conde briefly, " because there is no pleasure 
to be had in obeying a fool >> . 1 

The Queen spared no pains to encourage the out- 
ward impression made by her son's triumphal entry 
into Paris. On the Feast of St. Louis (August 26th), 
the King went in state to hear Mass at the Jesuit 
Church in the Rue St. Antoine ; and a procession 
was organised, with great pomp and elaboration. The 
success was brilliant ; Louis, on horseback, wearing a 
pearl-grey coat with silver embroidery, and attended 
by all the chief officers of the Court, was even more 
irresistible than in a state coach. The Princes and 
nobles who escorted him, rose to the occasion, and 
vied with each other in gorgeousness ; special attention 
was claimed by the Due de Richelieu, in cloth of gold, 
and the Comte de St. Aignan, in flame-colour. Among 
them all, no figure was more striking, in bearing and 
equipment, than that of M. le Prince, who rode, with 
his brother, immediately before the King. Conde 
was not, and had never been, loved by the people of 
Paris ; and, since the late war, his appearance had 
not infrequently been greeted with open execrations. 
But their dislike and fear of him gave way, for the 
moment, to admiration ; and, like the citizens of 
Barcelona at the famous ' carrousel', they acclaimed a 
splendour as unquestioned as it was rare. The Prince 
to quote the language of the Gazette " wore a coat 
of green, covered with gold and silver embroideries, 
of matchless beauty " ; and even his horse, in trappings 

1 Laporte, Memoires. 


of the same green and gold, " seemed proud that he 
had served his master in more than one great battle ". 
Possibly Conde's very indifference to the crowd may 
have helped to make his presence impressive ; for he 
had paid scarcely any heed to their abuse, and was little 
moved by their favour. 

Monsieur had not exposed himself to the dangers 
of being outshone. As usual, he was dissatisfied with 
the place allotted to him in the ceremony ; maintaining 
his right to ride alone, instead of, as the Queen wished, 
in line with the other two Princes of the Blood ; and, 
sooner than submit, he absented himself altogether, 
on a hunting expedition to Limours. He returned, 
however, in time for a great festivity given by the 
' prevot des marchands ', and all the city dignitaries, 
in honour of the King's birthday (September 5th). 
Louis and all his Court were magnificently received at 
the Hotel de Ville, with feasting, dancing, and a display 
of fireworks. The supper was a true civic banquet, 
u superb and abundant, with all manner of fruits and 
confectionery " ; and the guests, unaccustomed to such 
luxuries in the King's household, no doubt did full 
justice to it. The whole entertainment, with the 
exception of the fireworks, took place in daylight, by 
the Queen's special request. Those who were most 
in her confidence knew that, in spite of all loyal demon- 
strations, she was afraid for the King's safety, at mid- 
night, in the streets of his capital ; but, lest her fears 
should be suspected, she preferred to tell her ladies 
that she had expressed the wish out of malice ; certain 
' frondeuses ', she said, wore too much rouge to enjoy 
appearing in full Court dress, except by artificial light. 1 
Mesdames de Chevreuse and de Montbazon may have 
felt the punishment ; but Madame de Longueville was 
many years younger than the Queen herself, and her 
beauty was not likely to suffer. Fortunately, the 
weather was cool for the season ; otherwise, dancing 
at midday might have been a heavy penance for all 
alike. The King led out Mademoiselle for the first 
1 branle ' ; and his brother of Anjou, the little daughter 
of Madame de Montbazon. Conde's partner was 
Charlotte de Lorraine, ' Mademoiselle de Chevreuse ', 
who, with her mother, had returned to France after 
the Peace of Rueil, and whose beauty was being eagerly 

1 Madame de Motteville, Mtmoires. 


exploited by her parents, in the hope of some princely 
marriage. The ' courante ' was led by the King with 
Madame le Feron, wife of the Prevot des Marchands, 
and the day passed with many compliments, and great 
satisfaction on all hands. The stream of printed 
attacks on the Queen and Mazarin had never been 
wholly checked, but it was for a short time overborne 
by songs of jubilation on the King's return, and the 
preparations made by his subjects : 

" Sus, qu'on aille arroser le Cours ! x 

u'on fasse boire la poussiere ! 
our y promener les Amours, 
Sus qu'on aille arroser le Cours ! 
L'on y fera tant6t des tours, 
Tant que durera la lumiere " 

Conde figures as the hero who has restored the King 
to his people ; in the " Triolets de Joie, chantes par 
la Ville de Paris ", all the Royal family are toasted in 
turn the King, the Queen, Monsieur, Madame, 
Mademoiselle ; and lastly, comes a special stanza for 
M. le Prince : 

" Cher Conde, c'est de tout mon coeur 
Que je veux boire a Votre Altesse ! 
Permettez-le moi, grand vainqueur, 
Cher Conde, c'est de tout mon coeur ; 
Je n'ai plus ni mal, ni peur, 
Voici pour noyer ma tristesse 
Cher Conde, c'est de tout mon coeur, 
A Votre Altesse ! " 

All these surface rejoicings could not hide the 
fact that the nobles of the Fronde were still making 
every effort to strengthen their position ; helped by 
their nominal repentance, which gave them free access 
to the Court. Scarcely one among them was disinter- 
ested ; but, while their motives differed endlessly, the 
one common aim and object which held the whole party 
together was the downfall of Mazarin. Their efforts 
to win over Conde began afresh, with renewed vigour 
and increased hopes of success. Eight months of 
enforced partisanship with Mazarin had done their 
work ; the Prince and the Cardinal were by nature so 
radically antipathetic to each other, that an open 
breach between them could now only be a question of 
time. Even in the interval between the signing of 

1 The Cours-la-Reine, the favourite ' promenade ' of the Court. 


peace and the King's entry into Paris, several grave 
difficulties had arisen. The correspondence of the 
time shows a sordid and inextricable tangle of public 
and private affairs ; marriages, Church preferment, 
civil and military appointments, all governed by the 
personal interests of Ministers and heads of Houses ; 
and all transactions obscured by elaborate systems of 
spying and corruption. The dispute which touched 
Mazarin most nearly concerned the marriage of his 
niece, Laure Mancini, eldest of the five noted sisters, 1 
to the Due de Mercceur, heir of the House of Vendome. 
The Due de Vendome, and Mercceur himself, were eager 
for the match ; but Beaufort, the younger son, played 
the part of a good frondeur, and did all in his power 
to hinder this alliance with ' the Sicilian '. Conde 
took for granted that his own approval was necessary, 
and was, at first, prepared to give it ; but later, per- 
ceiving that Mazarin and the Vendome Princes might 
afford each other too much support, he retracted, and 
threatened all the penalties of his displeasure. His 
decision was strengthened by the report that the 
Admiralty appointment, refused to the House of Conde, 
was now to be bestowed on Vendome. Entreaties were 
wasted on him by the Cardinal, and also by the intended 
bridegroom ; an amiable, but slow-witted young man, 
who drew the ridicule of the whole Court upon himself 
by imploring M. le Prince, of all people, to use influence 
with Beaufort, and make him withdraw his opposition ! 
The Princes of Vendome were notoriously illiterate ; 
so much so, that their faults of language were a constant 
source of amusement. Mercceur, who was genuinely 
in love with the beautiful Mancini, shed tears before 
Conde, and made bitter complaints of Beaufort, vowing 
to disown him : " Je ne le verrons jamais, Monsieur ; 
ni mon pere, ni moi ! " Goulas, recording the incident, 
observes that neither the phrase nor the tears were 
soon allowed to be forgotten. 2 

Mazarin's attitude, in dealing with the Prince, 

1 Laure, Olympe, Marie, Hortense, and Marianne Mancini were the 
daughters of the Cardinal's younger sister. They were brought from Rome 
to Paris to be educated, and to gain the advantages of their uncle's position. 
With them came also the two daughters of Madame Martinozzi, Mazarin's 
elder sister. All the seven nieces played more or less important parts in 
the society of their time. 

2 The marriage of Mercosur and Laure Mancini eventually took place at 
Bruhl, during Mazarin's exile from Court in 1651. Madame de Mercceur 
died in 1657, at tne a S e of twenty-two. 


shows a curious mixture of fear and determination. 
Face to face with him, he trembled ; his dread of violence, 
in word or deed, was even ludicrously apparent. Yet 
this terror, which Conde loved to provoke, was a purely 
physical affection. The Cardinal's policy was little, 
if at all, influenced by it ; he might quail for a moment, 
but in political skill and tenacity he was more than a 
match for his adversary. Shortly after his return to 
Paris he resolved, since Conde's sanction was obstin- 
ately withheld, to make the bold experiment of doing 
without it. He was afraid, however, to utter his de- 
cision to the Prince, and laid the message on Le Tellier ; 
who was to explain, in the most civil and deprecating 
manner possible, that the marriage had been arranged ; 
that the Cardinal would still be ready to consider the 
interests of M. le Prince before any others ; and that 
as the Queen had given her consent, it was hoped that 
his would no longer be refused. The errand was duly 
discharged. Conde, after a moment's displeasure, 
reflected that Mazarin would probably be willing to 
pay for a peaceful agreement, and decided to yield, 
on conditions. He waited till the messenger had 
finished his announcement and his explanations ; and 
then asked him, very gravely : '' But what of that 
great Prince, of whom M. le Cardinal is so strangely 
afraid? He is dead, I suppose. Well, this is a goool 
revenge upon him ". Then, to Le Tellier 's great relief, 
he laughed, and took the interview in good part, saying 
that the Queen's word must be final. Nevertheless, 
he was secretly determined that Mazarin should suffer 
for withstanding him ; and the price he asked for his 
consent immediately gave rise to a fresh series of 
intrigues and disturbances. 

The House of Conde, like other princely families 
of the time, was seldom known to lose any temporal 
advantage through want of asking for it. The terms 
demanded by Conti and Longueville at the Peace of 
Rueil, had been exorbitant, to say the least ; but, 
under the stress of the moment, all had been promised, 
and a fair proportion had already been granted. One 

Eossession, much coveted for Longueville by the whole 
iction, was still in abeyance : the governorship of 
Pont-de-1'Arche, a fortified town in Normandy. Longue- 
ville, as Governor of the province, had in his gift the 
governorships of Rouen, Caen, and Dieppe, all of 


which, needless to say, had been bestowed on trust- 
worthy supporters of his own, and of the House of 
Conde. Pont-de-1'Arche, on the Seine, above Rouen, 
could not fail to be the key to an important position, 
in the case of civil war ; and the Queen declared, truly 
enough, that if so much were to be conceded, M. de 
Longueville would need nothing but the title to be Duke 
of Normandy. Still, the fact that the Minister's word 
had been given was undeniable, however little intention 
there may have been of fulfilling it. Conde now found 
himself urged by his whole family to take the matter in 
hand, and to ask Pont-de-1'Arche for his brother-in- 
law in return for his own consent to the Mancini 
marriage. He was also to claim the sum of four hundred 
thousand ' livres ', which had been promised with 
the town. Conde 's resentment was not hard to work 
upon ; he grasped at the suggestion, and promised that 
Longueville should be satisfied. The frondeurs waited 
in joyful anticipation, convinced that a crisis was 
imminent. Nor were they disappointed. The betrothal 
ceremony was fixed for September i pth . On the evening 
of the loth, the Cardinal, meeting M. le Prince at 
the Queen's Council, asked if he would honour the 
bride and bridegroom by signing the marriage con- 
tract as a witness. Conde excused himself on the plea 
that he was not related to either party ; and, at the same 
time, took the opportunity to proffer his claim for 
Pont-de-1'Arche, on Longueville 's behalf. Mazarin's 
answer was to refuse, publicly, and with more assurance 
than he often displayed. Conde looked at him in 
unutterable scorn and anger. Was this coward, this 
miserable foreigner, to pose as a hero and defy him ? 
His next act scandalised the Court, almost as an earlier 
scene had scandalised the Parliament ; he snapped 
his fingers in the Cardinal's face, saying derisively, 
1 Adieu, Mars ! ' then turned and left the Palace, 
with no other farewell. 

Retz declares that before half an hour had passed 
the details of the scene were known throughout the 
whole town. He himself lost no time in acting on the 
knowledge. Next day saw him, with Beaufort, hasten- 
ing to offer their joint services to M. le Prince. They 
found him at the Hotel de Longueville, where the 
Duchess and all her circle had received him with 
triumph and applause. Retz's offer was, at first, 


cordially received ; while every pressure was brought 
to bear on the Prince to let the breach with Mazarin 
and the Court be final, and to declare openly for the 
Fronde. These persuasions were still needed ; for both 
parties knew that the Cardinal might think w r ell to 
overlook any affront, sooner than lose such an adherent. 
Then followed a time of bewildering changes and 
negotiations. Conde, torn by many ambitions and 
by the conflicting instincts which attached him to his 
own family and to the Court, suffered tortures of 
indecision. Neither dissipation nor intellectual in- 
terests, to both of which he had recourse, could 
distract his thoughts ; and the more the uncertainty 
preyed on his mind and nerves, the more unreasoning 
and inconsequent his actions became. At one point, 
Retz, Beaufort, and Noirmoutiers were invited to a 
secret conference at the Hotel de Conde at four in the 
morning, only to hear from the Prince that not all 
Mazarin J s misdeeds could justify him, Conde, in making 
war against the Crown ; the career of the rebel Due 
de Guise was often in his mind, and he maintained that 
" the conduct of ' le Balafre ' would not beseem a Prince 
of his race ". 1 Two days later, the thought of alliance 
with the Cardinal had again become intolerable ; and 
Le Tellier, who had once more been acting as ambassador, 
was charged with a message to him " that the Prince 
would no longer be his friend, or serve him in any 
thing ". 2 

Conde 's personal friends and followers were driven 
almost to distraction by these methods ; which, as 
they saw clearly, could only end in alienating both 
Royalists and frondeurs. Rohan and Gramont joined 
with other Royalist nobles in desperate efforts to 
reconcile him to the Court ; but Lenet, second to none 
in his knowledge of the Prince's character, would have 
been content to see him adhering to either of the two 
factions, provided that his adherence was firm and con- 
sistent. Lenet had received a summons to the Hotel 
de Conde as soon as the last declaration of war had 
been dispatched to Mazarin. On his arrival he found 
M. le Prince in bed at midday, a circumstance ex- 
plained by his having spent the past evening with the 
exiled King of England (Charles n) at St. Cloud. Le 
Tellier had not long left him, bearing the message of 

1 Retz, Mtmoires, 2 Lenet, Memowes. 


defiance. Lenet, at first, frankly deprecated the 
quarrel with the Cardinal ; but after some conversa- 
tion he changed his tone, perceiving that Conde was 
by this time too deeply engaged with the frondeurs to 
draw back without loss of credit. He had pledged his 
word to their leaders in private, besides railing against 
Mazarin in public. Still Rohan and his allies did not 
despair ; all that day and the next the courtyard of 
the Hotel was thronged with messengers and negotiators 
for peace. Meanwhile the frondeurs flocked in ever- 
increasing numbers to the Prince, as to their leader ; 
already the pamphleteers were bringing their 'Mazarin- 
ades ' to him, in the certainty of patronage. The whole 
Court seemed to be wavering in its allegiance ; even 
Monsieur displayed an ostentatious friendship for his 
cousin, and they found congenial occupation together 
in devising satires on the Cardinal. But where Monsieur 
was concerned, the Abbe de la Riviere had also to be 
reckoned with. La Riviere had a difficult part to play ; 
for the Cardinal's hat was not yet assured to him, 
and was never likely to be his, without help from 
Mazarin, as well as from M. le Prince. Therefore it 
was for his interests to maintain some kind of friendly 
relations between the two ; and all his influence was 
used to convert Monsieur into an intermediary. He it 
was who must persuade Mazarin to give way over Pont- 
de-1'Arche ; and at the same time induce Conde to accept 
such advances with common politeness. Monsieur's re- 
presentations, alone, might not have had much weight ; 
but Mazarin had begun to meditate a change of tactics, 
and allowed himself to be convinced. Either his courage 
failed him at the sight of M. le Prince and his train of 
nobles ; or, as is not improbable, he saw that his revenge 
lay further ahead. His aim was to isolate Conde; and 
if, by winning him back at this juncture, he could sow 
dissension between him and the Fronde, then no one 
fortress was too high a price to pay. Madame de 
Longueville was still rejoicing in her triumph, when the 
startling intelligence was brought that the Cardinal 
had yielded ; Pont-de-1'Arche had been granted, and 
M. le Prince was at peace with the Court. 

That Mazarin had so far yielded, was true enough ; 
but the peace-making was carried out in scenes of 
comedy, if not of farce. Lenet, with his late interview 
still in his mind, could scarcely believe his senses, when, 


crossing the Pont-Neuf, he met the Prince, in Gaston's 
state coach ; and was told by La Moussaye who 
followed in another carriage and spoke to him from the 
window that Monsieur had arranged terms of peace, 
and that they were even now on their way to the Palais- 
Royal to proclaim the agreement. A formal recon- 
ciliation took place, as afterwards transpired, in the 
Queen's presence ; but with some coldness and conde- 
scension on the Prince's side. The sum of money 
promised with the fortress was reduced by one-half ; 
and he observed that " the favour might have been 
granted with a better grace ". Lenet, after parting 
from La Moussaye, went directly to inform the Princess 
Dowager, whom he found with Madame de Longue- 
ville at the Hotel de Conde. Here, fresh rumours 
reached them ; not only were terms of peace agreed 
upon, but to make their friendship known, the Cardinal 
was to be entertained at supper by M. le Prince that 
same evening. Late in the afternoon, Conde himself 
appeared, to confirm the report. His position might 
have been embarrassing, for he could not but be conscious 
of having broken faith with the Fronde ; but he had a 
brotherly love of teasing Madame de Longueville, and 
no great fear of her displeasure. " Well, ma soeur", 
he said, with an air described as ' riant et railleur ', 
" have you heard that Mazarin and I are hand and 
glove together ? " But to Madame de Longueville 
this was no laughing matter. "If it is so ", she 
answered, " I pray that you may not lose all your 
friends as well as your reputation. La Riviere and 
Monsieur will not win them back for you ; and still 
less the Queen and the Cardinal ". Then after a pause 
she added : " Is it true that he will be at supper with 
you to-night ? " l That is rather amusing " (' assez 
plaisant '), answered the Prince; "Monsieur asked me 
for a supper, and now he says that he will bring Mazarin 
with him, and musicians, to pass the evening ". The 
Duchess was not satisfied by this explanation, but 
Conde protested that he could not help himself : " And ", 
he continued, turning to Lenet, "if you will come and 
join us, you will see how I mean to treat the Cardinal ; 
and that only the consideration I owe to Monsieur has 
forced me to receive him in my house ". 1 

Both socially and politically, the supper was as 

1 Lenet, Memoires, 

1 649] CONDfi'S VACILLATION 281 

lamentable a failure as might have been expected. 
Conde 's unfitness for the post of a party leader had 
never been more glaringly apparent. Not all the 
gravity of the situation could subdue him into self- 
control. At the sight of Mazarin, hatred and contempt 
flamed up unchecked ; and he set himself deliberately 
to take all possible advantage of the Cardinal's weak- 
ness. Gaston, either from malice or carelessness, did 
not arrive till nearly an hour after the time appointed ; 
thus leaving Mazarin and the Prince alone together. 
Conde made the most of his opportunity, and used his 
gifts of sarcasm and invective to such purpose that 
Monsieur, arriving with his suite, found the Cardinal 
" wearing the face of a man who has been tortured ". 1 
Lenet, who joined the guests after supper, found a 
melancholy gathering : (< Monsieur ", he says, " had 
abandoned his usual gay and lively humour ; observing, 
after several vain efforts, that it was useless to stimulate 
conversation between the Prince and the Cardinal ". 
Conde was " very grave, contrary to his wont ; and 
never spoke except to utter some taunt against the 
Cardinal ". 2 Convention demanded that Monsieur 
should be the first to leave ; but Mazarin was reduced 
to a state of such abject fear and misery, that he 
defied social rules ; and, at the first mention of with- 
drawal, fled as if for his life. His attendants re- 
ported afterwards that he had been in real terror of 

Next day, the frondeurs were again jubilant, and 
more prudent spirits, in despair. Navailles, captain 
of the Cardinal's Guard, sought out Lenet, and asked 
if the Prince could be made to hear reason. Lenet 
admitted that he now saw no prospect of peace unless 
the Cardinal's submission were complete. Conde had 
increased his pretensions, and Pont-de-TArche no 
longer satisfied him ; the Mancini marriage which 
Lenet speaks of as the real obstacle to reconciliation 
must be broken off. As though to prove the truth of 
these words, M. le Prince caused great agitation at 
Court two nights later, by giving another supper- 
party, to which he invited all the leaders of the 
Fronde. Retz, Beaufort, Noirmoutiers, and La Mothe- 
Houdancourt were among the guests ; besides Rohan 
and Turenne, who came as personal friends of the 

1 Goulas, Memoires. z Lenet, Memoires, 


Prince ; and the company, on this occasion, was as 
festive as could have been wished. The Queen was 
both alarmed and offended ; but Conde, being expostul- 
ated with, only answered that, as long as the Cardinal 
made friends of the House of yendome, he, for his 
part, should retaliate by propitiating the Fronde. 
Mazarin 's scheme of vengeance was not yet matured ; 
once more he was forced into yielding, to gain time. 
The last touch to his present humiliation was put by 
Vendome himself, who, seeing the Cardinal apparently 
at Conde's mercy, began to doubt the merits of the 
alliance. The arrangements for the marriage were 
abruptly cancelled. Laure Mancini, a promised bride 
of fifteen, was sent, with her sisters, into temporary 
banishment at the Convent of Val de Grace ; while her 
uncle pledged his word, in writing, " to arrange no 
marriage for his nephew, 1 or for any of his nieces, without 
having first consulted M. le Prince ". These words 
form part of the conditions formally subscribed by 
Mazarin, and approved, perforce, by the Queen. The 
same document sets forth his promise that " no appoint- 
ment shall be made to any Governorship, or to any 
office of the Crown or of the King's household, or to 
any embassy or military command, and that no person 
shall be dismissed from the Court, and no important 
affair of State shall be concluded, without the pre- 
liminary advice of M. le Prince"; further, " to main- 
tain a perfect understanding with the Prince, and to be 
his friend, and to serve him, before all and against all ". z 
In return, Conde undertakes " to gave his advice in all 
sincerity, and to serve Her Majesty with all the diligence 
in his power " ; and to give the Cardinal his friendship 
and services, both in private interests and in those of 
the State. This amazing contract was signed by both 
parties on October 2nd. Conde had yet to learn that 
his enemy was never more dangerous than when he 
was frightened. Mazarin, outwardly humbled, was in- 
wardly reassured by the certainty that the Prince might 
now safely be left to his own devices. The policy of 
non-interference, which had succeeded so admirably 
in estranging him from the Parliament, would be no 
less effective if applied to his dealings with the nobles. 
Conde, elated by success, ' urged ' as La Rochefou- 

1 Paul Mancini ; killed in the Faubourg St. Antoine, 165?, 
z A.C., October, 1649. 

1 649] THE QUEEN AND JARZ 283 

cauld says ' by his evil destiny ', and possessed by a 
demon of arrogance and unrest, needed little help in 
his own undoing. 

From the seething tide of Court politics and intrigues 
three incidents stand out to justify Mazarin's conviction. 
All three occurred between the date of signing the con- 
tract and the end of the year. The first was the 
episode of Jarze's dismissal, which offended the Queen ; 
the second, the ' guerre des tabourets ', which offended 
the nobles ; the third, the marriage of the young Due de 
Richelieu, 1 which offended both. 

Jarze, or, to give him his full title, Rene du Plessis 
de la Roche Picmer, Marquis de Jarze, was a good- 
looking, feather-brained young man, known, even 
among his fellow petits-maitres, as inordinately con- 
ceited and quarrelsome. He was commended to the 
Prince by reckless liveliness and physical courage, 
and had won special praise for his services at Fribourg. 
More lately, during Conde's absence in Burgundy, he 
had been one of the foremost in a brawl at the Jardin 
Renard, a favourite resort and restaurant of the day. 
Beaufort, with a band of frondeurs, encountered Boutte- 
ville, Candale, Jarze, and other Royalists or ' Maza- 
rins ', as their enemies called them; high words passed, 
Beaufort overturned a supper-table, and two of the 
guests were ' coiffes d'un pot age ' ? But the petits- 
maitres, for the most part, had no politics save those 
of the Prince, their leader ; and the first breach with 
Mazarin was no sooner accomplished than Jarze 
offered his services as informer. He undertook to fre- 
quent the Palais-Royal on all possible occasions, posing 
as a fervent Royalist, and to report all he could hear to 
the Prince. He even hinted, with the most assured im- 
pudence, that he was not without personal ascendancy 
over the Queen herself, and that the Cardinal's influence 
might one day be superseded. Conde had no scruples ; 
spies, of one kind or another, were looked on as a 
necessity of existence. He was perfectly willing that 
Jarze should serve him by attempting to make love to 
the Queen ; and only expressed in private his opinion 
that such a ' mad-cap fellow ' was not likely to be 
chosen by anyone as a confidant in affairs of State. The 
Court observed with amusement, and with some indig- 
nation, the efforts of the aspiring ' galant de la Reine ' ; 

1 Great-nephew of the Cardinal ; sec Chapter IX. 2 Retz, Memoir es. 


than whom Malvolio himself was not more fatuously 
mistaken ! Contemporary writings describe him, 
' peigne, poudre, et vetu a 1'avantage ', displaying an 
ostentatious devotion, day after day. The Queen, at 
first, was not disposed to deal seriously with the extrava- 
gant conduct of a man nearly twenty years younger than 
herself ; but soon his persistence became intolerable ; 
and, acting on Mazarin's advice, she rebuked him so 
sharply and publicly that even his assurance gave way, 
and he was forced to retreat in confusion. How far the 
Prince had positively encouraged Jarze's presumption, 
does not appear ; but there was no doubt as to his course 
of action after this crisis . Jarze was under his protection ; 
and that one of his followers should be openly disgraced 
and dismissed from the Court, for whatever reason, was 
so he was pleased to consider an insult to himself. 
If the Queen found cause for displeasure, she should 
have warned him, M. le Prince ; and he, if he saw fit, 
would have instructed Jarze to withdraw privately. 
Finally, he insisted, in the most commanding terms, on 
her allowing the offender to return to Court, as though 
he were the most guiltless of men. It was small wonder 
if the Queen declared to her ladies that the audacity of 
M. le Prince was beyond all bearing ; or if, from that 
moment, she asked nothing better than to be able to 
advance any scheme for his punishment. 

The ' guerre des tabourets ', which began at about 
the same time as Jarze's attentions to the Queen, and 
lasted far longer, was a tedious and intricate dispute on 
the never-failing subject of precedence. Briefly, certain 
members of the Albret and La Rochefoucauld families 
suddenly bethought themselves of asserting their de- 
scent from Princes, and demanding the attendant privi- 
leges ; among them the right to a seat, or ' tabouret ' 
in the Queen's presence. Urged by La Rochefoucauld, 
Madame de Longueville persuaded Conde to show his 
influence, and to ask that these claims might be recog- 
nised. Mazarin, no doubt foreseeing the result, en- 
couraged the Queen to give her consent. Then followed 
tumult. The Dukes and Marshals of France rose in 
wrath ; each one persuaded that his ancestry would be 
found to justify a like claim. Either the privileges must 
be extended to each and all of them, or the new grant of 
* tabourets ' must be revoked. Meetings of the nobles 
were convened, in haste and indignation ; private 

1649] MADAME DE PONS 285 

quarrels were forgotten in this common grievance. The 
discussion was prolonged for weeks ; and, before its end, 
Conde found himself practically unsupported . Monsieur, 
who had upheld him at first, took alarm at the storm that 
had been raised, and went over to the nobles. The grant 
was withdrawn, in spite of the Prince's efforts ; he had 
failed to satisfy his friends, and had made countless 
enemies among the nobles, who still resented the in- 
dignity he had wished to put upon them. 

Last of this deplorable series came the marriage 
of the Due de Richelieu to Madame de Pons. Conde 
was never more arbitrary than in his dealings with 
matrimonial affairs ; witness the long list of marriages 
made or marred by him. The young Duke, heir to 
immense estates, was still a minor, and was kept under 
strict supervision by his aunt and guardian, the Duchesse 
d'Aiguillon. Madame de Pons was none other than 
Anne du Vigean, the elder sister of Marthe, and had 
been one of the six ' angels ' of Chantilly who con- 
gratulated ' M. le Due ' on his success at Thionville. 
She was now a widow, and almost dependent on her 
friends for support ; her husband, a cadet of the House 
of Albret, had left her little but his name. Madame 
d'Aiguillon had always considered the Du Vigean 
family as under her special protection ; Richelieu was 
twenty ; Madame de Pons was over thirty, and her 
reputation was admitted to be excellent. All these 
facts justified the Duchess in encouraging a friendship 
which she imagined might be an education for her 
nephew in social matters. Later, she intended that a 
suitable marriage should be arranged for him ; Made- 
moiselle de Chevreuse was looked on as a possible bride ; 
or, if Mazarin should continue in power, one of the 
Mancini sisters. But all such schemes were discomfited 
by the counter-designs of Madame de Pons ; who, 
though she had not Marthe's beauty of face, or of mind, 
contrived to please many people ; her enemies said, by 
flattery. Richelieu fell in love with her ; and she, 
knowing that their marriage would never be counten- 
anced by Madame d'Aiguillon, said no word to her of 
his attachment, but turned to her friends of the House 
of Conde for help. Madame de Longueville answered 
readily to the appeal ; but it was M. le Prince who 
took the chief responsibility upon himself. He had at 
least one practical reason for approving the match ; 


Richelieu, as soon as he was of age, would be Governor 
of Havre another stronghold of Normandy ; and both 
town and Governor might henceforth be assured to the 
House of Conde. Lenet confidently affirms that the 
Prince was moved by sentiment as well ; and that the 
memory of his love for Marthe du Vigean led him to take 
up her sister's cause. 1 Nothing was known, or even 
suspected, at Court, till after the wedding had actually 
taken place. It then appeared that M. le Prince had 
accompanied the fugitive couple as far as Trie, where the 
marriage was celebrated, by night and in secret ; and 
that he had assisted at the ceremony, playing the part 
of a parent to both bride and bridegroom, and signing 
his name as a witness to the contract. The dismay of 
Madame d'Aiguillon, of the whole family of Richelieu, 
and of many other families who had hoped for some 
alliance with the Duke, may be imagined. The Queen 
shared their indignation ; partly as a friend of the 
Duchess, and partly on account of the flagrant breach 
of etiquette involved in the marriage of a Peer of 
France without the Royal permission. She was not 
likely to be appeased when Conde, having dispatched 
Richelieu and his bride on their journey to Havre, re- 
appeared at Court, telling stories of the elopement and 
its adventures with unconcealed amusement ; and 
when, to her warning that the marriage might be 
annulled, on the plea that the Duke was a minor, he 
answered defiantly, that marriages contracted in his 
presence, and with his consent, were not made to be 

Mazarin had not awaited this last stroke to begin 
drawing his toils closer round M. le Prince. The object 
in view was nothing less than the arrest and imprison- 
ment of the Prince himself, and of his chief adherents ; 
an arbitrary arrest, such as the Edict of St. Germain had 
sought to guard against, but which might still serve as 
a last weapon in the hands of the Sovereign. The de- 
sign was first whispered ; then spoken of as a possi- 
bility ; and finally urged as a necessity, if the Royal 
authority was to be preserved. The Prince's own 
actions had given all the assistance that could have been 
hoped for ; but there remained one or two points on 

1 " Tant il y a qu'il avoit conserve, et conserve encore, je ne sais quelle 
memoire pleine de respect et d'estime pour cette bonne religieuse, qu'il ne 
voit pourtant point ". 


which Mazarin felt that assurance must be doubly sure 
before he could venture on extreme measures. He 
must place a definite and insurmountable barrier be- 
tween the Prince and the frondeurs ; and he must win 
Monsieur's official consent, in spite of La Riviere, who 
was held fast to Conde by the hope of the Cardinalate. 

Of the incidents by which a breach with the fron- 
deurs was brought about, it is practically impossible to 
write with any certainty in detail. The belief most 
generally accepted is that Mazarin used for his own 
purpose an elaborate hoax, played by certain of the 
lesser bourgeois, or ' rentiers ', of Paris on their fellow- 
citizens. These rentiers were anxious to precipitate 
the meeting of Parliament, and so to gain further 
opportunity of claiming redress for their grievances. 
To this end they adopted the strange expedient of 
simulating an attempt at assassination upon one Guy 
Joly, a magistrate, and an acknowledged upholder of 
the people's rights. The citizens, it was believed, 
would readily suppose that the Court party had insti- 
gated the attempt ; and, in any case, the Parliament 
must assemble to inquire into such a crime. Joly, in 
his memoirs, makes no secret of the imposture, and 
naively describes all the preparations made beforehand. 
The design was duly carried out ; Joly's carriage was 
fired upon and discreetly missed in broad daylight. 
That same evening a letter was sent to Conde by 
Servien, now a Secretary of State, and much in 
Mazarin 's confidence. By this same letter the Prince 
was warned that the frondeurs had set on foot a plot 
against his life ; that the shots fired at Joly had been 
intended for him, and that a band of armed men were 
even now in hiding on the Pont-Neuf, to attack him as 
he drove past. Conde, after some persuasion, in which 
the Cardinal eagerly joined, sent his carriage, empty, 
to the place indicated ; where, as had been foretold, it 
was greeted by musket-shots, two of which lodged in the 
wood- work. The proof of murderous intention needed 
no further support ; before morning the whole city 
had heard that Beaufort and the Coadjutor were accused 
of planning the death of M. le Prince. 

No serious evidence of such a conspiracy has ever 
been brought to light ; and, although Mazarin 's exact 
share in the proceedings has never been traced, the 
inference seems clear that he and Servien had followed 


up the rentiers' imposture on the public with one of 
their own devising, on the Prince. Conde, whose mental 
balance had been much shaken by his late uncer- 
tainties, fell headlong into the trap. His view of an 
attempt on his life was entirely characteristic, he re- 
garded it far more as an insult than as a danger ; and 
though he set the whole machinery of the law in motion 
against the supposed offenders, he took no special 
measures for his own safety. But while all Paris was 
enjoying the unwonted spectacle of a First Prince of the 
Blood appealing for vengeance against his would-be 
murderers, Mazarin had entered upon definite negotia- 
tions with the leaders of the Fronde. His great design 
against the Prince now the common enemy of both 
parties had been imparted to them, and had received 
their full acquiescence. 

Conde's arrest might be an act of justice, in the 
sight of the Queen and her Minister, but they, and 
all others concerned in the preparations, seem to have 
felt themselves to be conspirators. Suspense grew 
breathless as, one by one, the necessary actors were 
admitted to the secret. Before the day of the crisis, 
seventeen persons, in all, had been informed. Madame 
d'Aiguillon was of the number, ready and willing to 
give encouragement if the Queen's heart should fail 
her. Madame de Chevreuse, already ' grande frondeuse ', 
was easily enrolled by Retz, and made many promises to 
the Cardinal on behalf of the whole party. Noirmoutiers 
was bribed by the promise of a ' Duke's patent '. 
Beaufort was excluded, as hopelessly indiscreet. Nothing 
now remained but to win over Monsieur, whose consent, 
as ' Lieutenant of the Kingdom ', was indispensable ; 
and, at the same time, to prevent his confiding in La 
Riviere, who would probably warn the Prince. The 
task was wisely entrusted to Madame de Chevreuse ; 
who discharged it with a skill born of twenty years' 
ceaseless intriguing. In a few days she had convinced 
Monsieur that La Riviere had interfered unwarrantably 
in one of his many love-affairs ; that he had secretly 
transferred his political allegiance to M. le Prince ; 
and that nothing but Conde's imprisonment could 
restore the ascendancy due to a ' son of France '. 
Monsieur had, not long since, given Conde his promise, 
before witnesses, that he would warn him of any such 
design against him that came to his knowledge ; but 


he had never yet allowed himself to be bound by his 
word, and his jealousy was not often appealed to in 
vain. His official sanction was given forthwith, 
and a warrant was signed for the arrest of the three 
Princes ; Conde, Longueville, and Conti. No love 
was lost either between brothers or brothers-in-law ; 
yet so strong was family feeling for the head of the 
House, that neither Conti nor Longueville could safely 
be left at liberty. The arrest of Madame de Longue- 
ville was ordered for the same day ; and also that of 
the four persons whom she was thought to influence 
most dangerously : Turenne, La Rochefoucauld, the 
Due de Bouillon and his wife. La Moussaye, well 
known for his devotion to the Prince, was to be another 

By January i8th (1650) all was in readiness; every 
detail of formal preparation for a great coup d'etat 
had been fulfilled. The chief arrest was to take place 
that evening at the Palais-Royal, where all three 
Princes were expected to attend the Queen's Council. 
Longueville, feeling himself insecure in Paris, had for 
some time avoided presenting himself at the Council ; 
but he was enticed thither on this occasion by a message 
that some favour to him was to be discussed. Conde, 
despite warnings, came habitually to the Palace at all 
times. That he mistrusted the Cardinal is proved by 
the renewed promise he exacted from him, signed on 
January i6th, never to depart from his interests, and 
to defend them ' envers tous et centre tous ' ; but, 
either from pride or from negligence, he altered none 
of his customs. The position he had helped to make 
for himself was as unenviable as it could well be ; he 
was enraged against the Fronde, suspicious of the Court, 
and exasperated by his dealings with the law. His 
gentlemen-in-waiting reported that for many nights 
he never slept ; but spent hours walking up and down 
his room, or writing on matters of business. Twice, at 
the Palace, he was on the verge of learning the truth. 
The first time was when he questioned Mazarin on 
the subject of a rumour that had just reached him ; 
it was said that the Coadjutor had been holding secret 
conferences at the Palais-Royal, and had been seen 
there, night after night, disguised ' en cavalier '. 
Any sign of embarrassment on Mazarin 's part would 
have been fatal. But with great presence of mind 


he disarmed suspicion, and turned Conde's love of 
ridicule to good account, by answering that M. le 
Coadjuteur would indeed be a fine sight in a feathered 
hat, and with ribbons at his knees to show off his 
bow legs ; and that if he ever visited him, Mazarin, 
in such guise, he promised His Highness to send him 
word, that he might come and enjoy the joke. The 
second, and still narrower, escape, was when on the 
morning of the i8th Conde came, unexpectedly, into 
the room where the Cardinal and a secretary were in 
the act of drawing up instructions for his safe-conduct 
to Vincennes after the arrest. Mazarin came forward 
in haste to greet him, while the secretary hid most of 
the papers ; and the Prince, before he left the room, 
had actually been trapped into signing part of the 
instructions himself. The Cardinal explained that 
an escort of cavalry would be needed for certain 
prisoners connected with the attempt on Joly ; would 
M. le Prince, as ' Grand Maitre ', send an order to the 
household troops, the ' chevau-legers ' and ' gendarmes 
du Roi ', for the purpose ? Conde, nothing loth, 
affixed his ' 'Louis de Bourbon ' to the document before 
him, and departed. He dined that day with the 
Princess Dowager, whom he found much concerned 
over the rumours which she too had heard. She 
warned both her sons that the Palace was no safe 
place for them ; but Conde maintained that he knew 
better ; that it was only La Riviere who was play- 
ing him false, and who spread these reports of evil 
designs at Court in order to incline Monsieur to the 

As the hours passed and the time of the Council 
drew near, the Queen, for all her naturally calm tem- 
perament, found herself in a state of nervousness 
beyond control. Conde had indeed given her much 
just cause for offence ; but now, when the warrant 
was signed, and Guitaut, her Captain of the Guard, 
waited only for her word to pronounce the arrest, 
she remembered all that France and the King had 
owed to M. le Prince in the past seven years. Her 
intention never faltered, but she could not meet the 
eyes of the Court ; instead, she kept to her own rooms 
and pleaded a headache. The Princess Dowager came 
to visit her, and made anxious inquiries for her health ; 
thereby heightening the distress of the Queen, who 

1 650] ARREST OF CONDfi 291 

held her in real affection, and could think of nothing 
but the terrible blow about to be inflicted on her. 
Custom required that M. le Prince should also be 
admitted to audience on his arrival at the Palace ; 
he was ushered in during his mother's visit, and stayed 
for a short time, talking on indifferent matters. This 
was the last time that the Princess ever saw her son. 1 
Soon after he had left them, the Queen dismissed her 
other visitors, saying tfhat she must go to the Council ; 
then, summoning her courage, she sent the word to 
Guitaut. When that was done, she took the King 
with her into her oratory, explained to him what was 
happening, and told him to kneel down by her side 
and pray ; and thus they waited, till the order was 

Conde, after leaving the Queen's private rooms, 
returned to join the Princes and Ministers, who were 
assembling for the Council. Mazarin's courage, like 
the Queen's, had failed at the last ; as he was passing 
from his own apartments to the long gallery where 
the Council was held, he called to La Riviere : " Come 
back with me to my room ; I have something important 
to say to you ". La Riviere was perplexed ; but he 
had, a moment earlier, been furiously attacked by M. 
le Prince, for real or supposed dealings with the Fronde ; 
and was probably glad enough to escape. Monsieur 
had also thought it well to be absent from the Council, 
and excused himself, as usual, on the score of illness. 
The Prince was in the centre of the gallery, talking 
eagerly to one of the Ministers, when the doors opened, 
and, instead of the Queen, who was momentarily 
expected, the Captain of the Guard entered alone. 
Conde knew, and liked, ' le vieux Guitaut ', whose 
young kinsman, ' le petit Guitaut ' was an officer of 
his own; and, expecting a request for some favour, 
he went forward and asked him what he wanted. 
Guitaut 's task was a hard one, but he faced it unflinch- 
ingly ; he answered, in a low voice : " My orders are 
to arrest you, Monseigneur, you, and M. le Prince de 
Conti, and M. de Longueville ". " To arrest me ! " 
repeated the Prince, and paused, half incredulous ; 
then added, after an instant's thought : " Go, in 
God's name, to the Queen, and ask her to let me speak 
with her ! " Guitaut went, though assuring him, at the 

1 The Princess Dowager died on December 2, 1650. 


same time, that it was useless ; he could leave his 
prisoners without fear, for the Palace was closely 
guarded. Conde turned to the rest of the company, 
who had not overheard ; but they saw by his face 
that he was moved : " Gentlemen ", he said, " the Queen 
has ordered my arrest. And yours ", to Conti ; 
" and yours, M. de Longueville ". "I must confess ", 
he added, " that I am taken by surprise ; for I have 
always served the King, and I thought myself assured 
of the Cardinal's friendship ". Le Tellier made some 
suggestion as to a practical joke. " If you think it is 
so ", Conde answered, " pray go to the Queen and tell 
her of it ; but for my part, I believe I am a prisoner ". 
He also sent a message to Mazarin, asking to see him. 
Guitaut 's errand took some minutes ; time enough 
for the Prince to realise his position. He knew only 
too well that years, even a lifetime, of imprisonment 
might follow such an arrest. But the pride and 
courage of his race rose up to meet adversity ; and he 
received the message of the Queen's refusal with perfect 
composure : " Well, I obey. Where are you going to 
take us? To a warm place, I hope ", for the weather 
that night was very cold. Guitaut answered that they 
were ordered to Vincennes : " Let us go, then ", said 
the Prince. As he spoke, he turned towards the door 
at the far end of the gallery ; and Guitaut, thinking 
he was planning escape, warned him that it was watched 
from outside. Then, ' with a serene and tranquil 
countenance ', M. le Prince took leave of the company, 
asking them not to forget him, but to assure others that 
he had been a good servant of the King. Longueville 
and Conti remained passive, neither uttering a word. 
Comminges, Guitaut's nephew, and his lieutenant, 
entered with a guard, and the prisoners passed through 
the gallery to a small private door, whence a 
narrow staircase led down into the garden ; a way 
known only to few. Conde, walking first of the three 
Princes, looked down the winding stair into the dark- 
ness, and an inevitable suspicion crossed his mind ; 
he turned to the officer beside him : " Comminges ", 
he said, " you are a man of honour and a gentleman. 
What have I to fear? " And, in a few seconds, even 
while they waited, he reminded him of the friendship 
he had always felt towards him, and towards his kins- 
men, and how it had benefited them. Comminges 


deserved all confidence ; he would never have been a 
party to the Prince's assassination: "On my honour, 
Monseigneur ", he assured him, " I have no orders but 
to take you to Vincennes ". This was enough for 
Conde, who passed on first down the stair, and to the 
outer door of the gardens, where a carriage was waiting. 
The cavalry escort, ordered by himself, and captained 
by the Comte de Miossens, 1 was ready to join them. 
The Prince looked round on the gendarmes, whom 
Chatillon had led, and said to them : " This is not the 
battle of Lens ! " There was no answer ; those who 
had served him then, were silent now ; possibly, in the 
haste and darkness, the men scarcely realised the 
identity of the prisoner who spoke. Strictly guarded, 
the carriage drove through Paris by unknown, cir- 
cuitous ways, avoiding crowded streets, and passing 
out by the Porte Richelieu, safe and unhindered. 

Beyond the gates, the horses were urged over rough 
roads with more haste than caution till, in one rut 
deeper than the rest, the carriage was half overturned 
and brought to a standstill. The prisoners alighted ; 
and Miossens' first act was to lay hands on the Prince ; 
Conde 's skill in all active exercises was renowned at Court, 
and his escort knew that there were few men who could 
run him down across country, even in daylight. Mios- 
sens afterwards related that M. le Prince had already 
made a movement to escape ; and that, finding himself 
held, he said : " I am not going to run ; but, Miossens, 
see what you can do for me ! ' ' to which the Count had 
answered by protestations of his duty to the King. But 
Madame de Motteville, to whom he told the story, adds 
that, on matters which concerned himself, Miossens' 
word was not an infallible authority. At last the 
unwieldy carriage was set upright again, and the 
journey was continued. Comminges admonished the 
driver, telling him to make haste, and the Prince 
laughed: " Never fear, Comminges", he said; " no 
one is coming after us. I took no precautions". On 
their way he sounded both Guitaut and Comminges 
as to the immediate reasons for the Queen's act. Com- 
minges answered as became one who was a scholar and 
courtier, as well as a soldier ' ' that he believed the 
only crime of M. le Prince against the Crown, or rather 
against the Cardinal, was that of Germanicus against 
1 Cesar-Phebus d'Albret, afterwards Marshal of France. 


the Emperor Tiberius ; he was too great, and deserving 
of too much honour ". The prisoners reached Vincennes 
at about ten o'clock ; an arrival even more cheerless 
than had been expected. For greater secrecy, no 
preparations had been made to receive them ; there were 
neither beds nor food. After some delay, a meal of 
bread and eggs was produced, but they were told that 
there was no wine. " There must be wine ", Conde 
persisted, " since Rantzau 1 is here " ; and so it proved. 
The Marshal had been disgraced, and imprisoned, on an 
accusation of secret dealings with the Spaniards ; he 
was lodged in another part of the fortress, and there, 
as the Prince had foretold, a store of wine was dis- 
covered. When supper was finished, there were still 
no beds, and the Princes were obliged to sit up most of 
the night. Conti and Longueville were in a state of the 
deepest dejection; Conde laughed at them, and made 
them play cards with him ; he also talked much with 
Comminges, and had a long argument with him on the 
subject of astrology ! Comminges was fascinated, as 
others had been, by his prisoner's conversational gifts ; 
for it was well known that M. le Prince could make 
himself as charming as he often was the reverse. The 
Lieutenant's duty at Vincennes continued for a week, 
before permanent officers were appointed ; and on his 
return to Court he declared freely that he had never 
passed his time in such good company as that of the 
Prince. He would have asked nothing better, he said, 
than to guard him at Vincennes for the whole time of 
his captivity ; if it were not that he felt certain he 
could never have treated such a prisoner with the 
strictness that would be required. It was observed that, 
when they parted, there were tears in the eyes of both ; 
yet neither, as those who knew them could testify, " had 
ever been accused of too much sensibility ". 2 

Comminges was not the only one of the nobles to 
whom Conde 's arrest brought an unexpected sense of 
indignity ; of resentment that a foreign minister should 
have compassed the imprisonment of a ' Premier 
Prince ' whose achievements had been a glory to France. 
But to the great majority in all classes, the moment 
was one of relief and triumph ; and Mazarin's supremacy 
seemed as complete as Conde's had been six months 
earlier. The citizens lit bonfires in the streets when they 

1 See Chapter X. 2 Motteville, Memoires. 


heard that the demon Prince, who had starved them 
and preyed upon them in the late siege, was safe at 
Vincennes. ' Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose ! ' 
Such fires were not lighted again till a year had passed ; 
by which time they blazed more brightly than ever, to 
celebrate his release. 



OF the seventeen persons who had planned the Princes 1 
arrest, not one was a novice in the art of concealment. 
It was inevitable that some rumour should be spread 
abroad ; but though suspicion was rife, it had taken 
no definite form ; and on those most nearly concerned, 
the blow fell like a thunderbolt. The arrests of secondary 
importance, which should have followed, failed, never- 
theless, with few exceptions ; for the reason that no 
measures could be taken to carry them out, until the 
success of the first great stroke was absolutely assured. 
To imprison Madame de Longueville would have been 
worse than useless, so long as there was any chance of 
her husband and brothers finding themselves at liberty. 
On the night of January i8th the news from the 
Palace spread like wildfire ; Bouillon, Turenne, and 
La Moussaye were warned, and fled instantly from 
Paris, escaping the bearer of the warrant only by a 
few minutes. Madame de Bouillon, a true heroine 
among frondeuses, was delayed by the illness of her 
little daughter, whom she refused to leave ; in con- 
sequence, she was arrested at her own house, and both 
mother and child spent several months in the Bastille. 
Madame de Longueville escaped a like fate only by 
accident. The Queen was no sooner informed that the 
Princes were on the road to Vincennes, than she sent to 
summon the Duchess, intending to have her arrested the 
instant she should set foot in the Palace. It chanced, 
however, that, when the messenger arrived, Madame de 
Longueville was not at her hotel ; but had gone to spend 
the evening with the Princess Palatine. The delay 
saved her ; for while she was with her friend, the news 

of the Princes' arrest was brought, and the Royal 



summons was forestalled. The Duchess fainted on 
first hearing the tidings ; but it was no time for giving 
way to distress ; and she had scarcely recovered before 
she set out for the Hotel de Conde, to break the news to 
the Princess Dowager. Brienne, one of the Queen's 
Ministers, had come thither for the same purpose and was 
still in the ante-room, hesitating over the task. Madame 
de Longueville was almost speechless with grief ; she 
sank down before her mother, exclaiming : " Ah, 
Madame, mes freres ! " and could say no more. The 
Princess gave a cry of despair : " My sons, my children ! 
Are they dead? What have they done to them?" 
Brienne came forward and told her the truth, adding 
the Queen's commands to herself : that she was to 
leave Paris, and withdraw to Chantilly, taking with her 
the young Princess, her daughter-in-law, and the little 
Due d'Enghien. They alone, of the House of Conde, 
were thought harmless and uninfluential enough to be 
left in comparative freedom. Almost at the same 
moment the Queen's messenger sent to announce his 
presence, having followed the Duchess from the Hotel 
de Longueville. But by this time she was prepared ; 
instead of obeying the summons, she escaped by a side 
door from theHotel de Conde, and returned to the Princess 
Palatine, who conducted her safely to a small house in 
the Faubourg St. Germain. Here she stayed for some 
hours in hiding, till she was joined by La Rochefoucauld, 
with his brother-in-law, the Marquis de Sillery, and a 
few followers ; and also, very unwillingly, by her less 
adventurous stepdaughter, Mademoiselle de Longue- 
ville. The Princess Palatine put carriages and horses 
at their disposal ; and before morning, the Duchess and 
her friends were on the road to Normandy. 

The frondeurs lost no time in flocking to pay their 
homage to the Queen, and to show their goodwill 
towards Mazarin. Within two hours after the arrest, 
the Palace was thronged with them ; many swearing, 
on the swords they wore, to be the loyal and devoted 
servants of the King, henceforth and for ever. The 
Queen received their protestations with dignity and 
with sufficient graciousness, but there was no sign of 
exultation in her manner ; and when Madame de Mont- 
bazon offered fervent congratulations, she answered 
coldly, that for her own part she was incapable of 
feeling pleasure at such a time. Monsieur's comment, 


when the news reached him, was quoted throughout 
the town : :< It was a good haul " (' un bon coup de 
filet '), he said ; " they have taken a bear, a monkey, 
and a fox ". The bear was Conde, whom Monsieur, in 
moments of displeasure, affected to look on as a rude, 
unpolished soldier. All three nicknames were instantly 
enshrined in popular verse : 

"On a vu passer le guichet 
Un ours, un renard, et un singe, 
Qui furent pris au trebuchet ; 
On a vu passer le guichet 
La troupe que Ton denichait 
Par Guitaut, Miossens et Comminges ". 

The only dissentient voices heard, beyond the 
immediate circle of the House of Conde, were those of 
certain Royalist nobles who felt the Prince's imprison- 
ment to be, in some sort, a national disgrace. Among 
them was La Meilleraie, to whom Conde, as a boy, 
had been entrusted at the siege of Arras ; and who 
had since quarrelled with, and been crossed by, his 
former charge, on more than one occasion. Yet his 
first impulse, now, was to write to Mazarin of his 
" great grief on hearing of the detention of M. le Prince 
in a place from which his rare gifts and great reputa- 
tion ought speedily to deliver him ". " It is certain ", 
La Meilleraie assures the Cardinal, " that all those 
who, like myself, have made it their profession to 
serve the Prince, will be deeply affected ", 1 

The first task of Conde 's adherents was to discover 
how many of the nobles were willing to carry this 
feeling of resentment into practical effect. It was 
soon evident that many of those who had most personal 
regard for M. le Prince shrank, none the less, from 
open war against the Crown. La Meilleraie, having 
uttered his protest, prepared to fulfil his duties as a 
Marshal and ' grand maitre de 1'artillerie ' in case of 
rebellion. Gramont had wept publicly, on hearing 
of the arrest ; but even while dwelling on his grief, he 
assured the Queen that his first duty would always 
be to her, and to the King. Of the great feudal lords 
who ruled almost as sovereigns over vast estates, two 
only Bouillon and La Rochefoucauld had openly 
declared themselves rebels ; but Bouillon's adherence was 
invaluable to the Princes, for it carried with it that of 

1 * Archives Etrangeres, Paris. 

1 650] THE ' ARMY OF RELEASE ' 299 

Turenne. Next came the troop of Conde's own officers : 
La Moussaye, Boutteville, Tavannes, Chavagnac, and 
others, whose indignation was so great as almost to 
hinder their efficiency. Lenet complains of finding 
Tavannes, with five or six companions, railing against 
the name of Mazarin, " like dogs baying the moon ", 
when they might have been more usefully employed. 
Boutteville, on the night of the arrest, had made 
desperate attempts to raise an armed insurrection on 
the Prince's behalf ; and failing, had withdrawn to 
Stenay, a fortress on the northern frontier, where 
Turenne had made his headquarters. La Moussaye 
was Governor of the town, and its position was at 
once established as the chief stronghold of a new force ; 
a force of which Turenne was appointed Commander- 
in-Chief, and which took to itself the somewhat 
equivocal title of ' L'armee du Roi, pour la delivrance 
des Princes '. Here was the rendezvous for officers 
of all ranks, who came in from different parts of the 
country, sometimes alone, sometimes with a small 
following of troops. Bouillon and Rochefoucauld were 
occupied in levying forces, each on his own estates. 
The feudal spirit ensured them some success ; but 
elsewhere, in towns and provinces alike, seigneurs and 
burghers, for the most part, held firm to the King. 
Mazarin, at the very instant of the arrest, had taken 
his measures of precaution throughout the country 
with unerring skill ; and the organisers of the rebel 
army found themselves baffled at every turn. Marsin, 
who was commanding the forces in Catalonia, and who, 
at a word, would have placed his whole army at the 
Prince's disposal, was summarily arrested before he 
could even declare his intention. The public posts 
held by the three prisoners were promptly refilled. 
Harcourt was appointed Governor of Normandy ; 
Vendome, of Burgundy. Both provinces submitted to 
the new rule with scarcely a murmur ; and, by a happy 
inspiration of the Cardinal's, their loyalty was sealed 
in each case by a visit from the King in person. 
Madame de Longueville, arriving at Rouen in the 
course of her flight, found the gates of the city closed 
to her. At Havre she fared no better, in spite of the 
Due de Richelieu's indebtedness to M. le Prince ; 
Madame d'Aiguillon had sent commands which out- 
weighed her nephew's influence. The fugitive princess, 


driven from one port to another, passed through many 
dangers by sea and land, and was forced, at last, to 
escape to Holland on board an English ship. Thence 
she crossed the frontier and travelled to Stenay, 
where she gave the full benefit of her counsels to 

To Lenet, and the civilian followers of the Prince, 
fell the work of establishing secret communications, 
like a network, throughout the land ; between Stenay 
and other possible centres of disaffection ; between 
the family headquarters at Chantilly and the officers 
of the ' army of release ' ; above all, between the 
prisoners and their friends. The credit of this last 
achievement belongs chiefly to Montreuil, 1 Conti's 
secretary, whose ingenuity defeated even the rigorous 
watchfulness of the Sieur de Bar, Comminges' successor 
in the guardianship of the Princes. Some of the 
letters were introduced by means of hollowed crown- 
pieces, opening with a spring. These, with a small 
paper tightly folded inside, were confided to one of 
Bar's servants, whose interest had been gained, and 
who mixed them with the coins used by the Princes 
when they played cards ; the rule of the Castle forbade 
any money to pass through the prisoners' hands, but 
a certain number of coins were dealt out to them, like 
counters, for use in their game. Conde's well-known 
habit of reading in bed was likewise turned to account ; 
for books, and a light, had been allowed him without 
question. The warders who were instructed to ' observe 
the prisoners' countenances ' in the day, and to visit 
them in their beds during the night, had all suspicion 
disarmed by the sight of M. le Prince studying folio 
editions of the classics ; and though such volumes 
must surely have been unwieldy for night reading, 
the blank paper of the margins proved invaluable. 
The Prince carried an Indian ink pencil, fastened to 
the inside of his shirt ; with this he often contrived 
to write a few words, in cipher, on the corner of a 
page, which was easily torn off ; and these scraps of 
paper were passed out, by various subterfuges, through 
an accomplice. 

The prisoners were forced to look on this precarious 
intercourse as almost the only consolation of their lot. 

1 " Montreuil had some reputation, in his day, as a writer of light verse. 
Retz speaks of him, also, as " un des plus jolis gardens que j'ai jamais connu". 

1 6so] LIFE IN PRISON 301 

The Sieur de Bar was an impenetrable guardian ; 
1 homme farouche ', in whom no social or intellectual 
qualities could find response, and who was known, 
moreover, to cherish a personal dislike for M. le Prince. 
Guy Joly, though avowedly opposed to the Princes' 
cause, accuses this stern warder of " imagining that 
the worse he treated his prisoners, the more favour 
he would find at Court ", l and of regulating his treat- 
ment of them accordingly. Reports came to the 
Luxembourg that Conde had shown no outward sign 
of distress, from the moment of his arrest till he heard 
the name of his jailer ; but that at the thought of 
being watched, day and night, by the Sieur de Bar, 
sudden despair seized him, and he wept. Some such 
reaction was inevitable, to a man of his temperament, 
after a prolonged nervous strain ; but it was not often 
that he gave his enemies so much gratification. As 
a rule, his good spirits and his activity of mind 
and body were in marked contrast to the dejected 
state of his fellow-prisoners. " The three Princes ", 
says a contemporary, " lived very differently from 
each other during their captivity. M. de Longueville 
was gloomy, and never said a word. The Prince of 
Conti lay in bed, and shed tears without ceasing. 
M. le Prince sang, and swore ; heard Mass every 
morning, read French and Italian ; and played ' au 
volant ' ". Conde J s friends, who knew his tastes, were 
allowed to send him presents of books, but all such 
offerings had to pass through the hands of M. de Bar. 
Mademoiselle de Scudery writes to Godeau, Bishop of 
Vence, that her brother has sent to M. le Prince the 
fifth volume of Le Grand Cyrus, which had just then 
appeared. Bar acknowledged the volume, saying that 
he would first read it himself ; " but he writes so 
badly ", the authoress observes, " that I very much 
doubt whether he is able to read ". The Prince, by 
way of a more serious occupation, busied himself also 
in writing a formal justification of his late actions, 
which was to be presented to the King. The * jeu de 
volant ' a compromise between tennis and the modern 
battledore and shuttlecock was not organised in the 
earliest days of his imprisonment. At first the 
Princes were allowed no exercise save that of walking 
on the ramparts ; where Conde, never at a loss for 

1 Guy Joly, M6moires. 


employment, turned his mind to gardening, as the 
spring advanced, and cultivated carnations in pots. 
Longueville, who was lamed by the gout, and Conti, 
whose health forbade vigorous amusements, were easily 
satisfied ; but M. le Prince demanded, and at last 
obtained, a freer scope. Bar writes that " his prom- 
enoir, though still between four walls, has been 
extended, and transferred to a different place ; he is 
able to play both at billiards and ' au volant ' ". 1 
Longueville was lodged separately, while, for a time, 
the two brother Princes shared a room ; but Conti 
was presently removed to where he could enjoy more 
light and air than on the ground floor of the Castle. 
The food provided for them was scarce, and not of 
good quality. Some suggestion had been made that 
the Princes should spare the public exchequer by 
paying for their own maintenance ; but this, Conde 
flatly refused to do, declaring that he would far sooner 
starve. " Let him starve, then ! ' said the Queen, 
when the answer was repeated to her ; and though she 
had no serious intention of carrying out the threat, 
the dispute caused an interval, in which Bar himself 
had perforce to provide for the prisoners at his own 
expense. Mazarin rewarded him by the gift of ' an 
abbey for one of his children '. z 

The religious exercises of the prisoners received 
a good deal of consideration ; each was allowed to 
choose the confessor who was to visit him. Before the 
feast of Candlemas, Bar writes to Mazarin that " Mon- 
seigneur le Prince asks for Pere Boucher, a Jesuit ; 
Monseigneur de Conti for Pere Talon, of the same 
order ; and M. de Longueville, for Pere Francois, a 
Franciscan ". 3 The two latter priests, apparently, could 
not obey the summons in time, and Conde, alone, was 
duly shriven before the festival. The next report 
announces that " M. le Prince has confessed to Pere 
Boucher ; the other two refused to confess, except to 
Pere Talon and Pere Francois. M. le Prince joked a 
great deal, afterwards, on the subject of his confession, 
and was particularly anxious to know what His Royal 

1 * Archives Elrangeres, Paris. 

2 Lettres de Mazarin ; September, 1650. The gift of ' an abbey ' was 
a not uncommon form of favour. The child on whom it was bestowed be- 
came titular Abbot, or Abbess, and enjoyed the revenues of the office, 
without its responsibilities. 

3 Archives Etrangdres, Paris. 

1650] CONDfi AND HIS JAILER 303 

Highness (Monsieur) said of his having asked for a 
confessor >l . 1 As a further sign of this impenitent state, 
it was told that when Conti, seized with a sudden 
access of piety, asked Bar to procure him a copy of 
Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ, M. le Prince 
struck in : " Pray bring me, at the same time, an Imita- 
tion of M. de Beaufort"; the last State prisoner who 
had escaped from Vincennes. 

Conde left no stone unturned to follow Beaufort's 
example in good earnest ; preferably, perhaps, by fair 
means, but if not, by any others that came to hand. 
Bar complains to Mazarin, immediately on taking up 
his post : " Monseigneur le Prince has forced me to tell 
him that his ideas of regaining liberty, otherwise than 
by the King's orders, will dp him no good, and that in 
any extremity that might arise, I should put my honour 
and duty before all other considerations ". 2 Whether 
Conde had made any actual attempt to corrupt Bar, 
does not appear ; but there is no doubt that, in the 
case of subordinate officers, and of the sentries who 
guarded him, he tried and succeeded. Many of them 
had served under him, at different times ; and there 
was one, Francceur, a serieant, who confided to a friend, 
Jean Herault de Gourville, La Rochefoucauld's agent, 
that these men often spoke to each other of " their 
grief at having to mount guard over M. le Prince, whom 
they had seen risking his life in the King's service, and 
who was now imprisoned, at the pleasure of a foreigner ". 3 
The Prince encouraged this feeling by certain methods 
which no one knew better than he how to employ. He 
talked with the sentries on duty at the door of his room 
and made them laugh ; and on one occasion offered 
them bribes, by inference, in the very hearing of his 
jailer. This last was a frankly imprudent measure ; 
but it exasperated Bar, and was therefore irresistible. 
Conde had asked that the sum of a hundred pistoles 
might be left in his hands ; Bar refused, quoting the 
rule which allowed no money to the prisoners. " Do 
you suppose ", asked the Prince scornfully, " that I 
am likely to corrupt these men " indicating the guard, 
who were well within hearing " with a hundred pistoles ? 
Nevertheless, if I had promised to pay each one of 
them a hundred thousand francs, the first thing I should 

1 * Le Tellier to Mazarin, Archives EtrangZres, Paris. 

2 Archives Etrangeres, Paris. 8 Gourville, Memoircs. 


do, were I at liberty, would be to satisfy them all >> . 1 
Another story was told, to the effect that Bar had once 
allowed his son to join the Princes at cards : " What 
shall we stake?" Conde asked the boy; " shall it be 
a Marshal's baton ? " Such speeches would easily 
account for Bar's warning, even if no direct advances 
had been made towards himself. 

Gourville, though at this time a very young man, 
was known as ' a skilled walker in devious ways ' ; l 
he was already in the confidence of La Rochefoucauld, 
and, in years to come, was to succeed Lenet in that of 
M. le Prince. Francceur's admissions were not lost 
upon him ; he promptly won over the serjeant, and 
charged him to let it be known secretly to all the guard, 
that a fortune was assured to any who would help in 
contriving the Princes' escape. He applied for money to 
the Princess Dowager, who was ready to advance the 
sums for distribution. Soon, a definite plot was under 
consideration ; the prisoners were to seize their oppor- 
tunity while Bar was attending Vespers in the chapel. 
Forty of the guard had been secured as accomplices, 
and kept the secret ; but a servant of the Princess, in 
whom she had been forced to confide, betrayed the 
design to a priest in the confessional. No names of 
individuals were discovered, but the whole staff of the 
prison, with the exception of a few officers, was changed ; 
and restrictions were more sternly practised even than 
before. Secret communication became increasingly 
difficult ; and for a time the Princes heard little or 
no thing of their friends' movements, save the occasional 
discouraging items of news which Bar thought fit to 
impart to them. Three times, in the course of a few 
weeks, Conde was visited by Servien, who came as 
the Cardinal's messenger on visits of inspection. Servien 
was as anxious as Bar himself to keep information from 
the Prince ; but he also wished to discover how far 
any word from Stenay, or other strongholds, had 
penetrated into the prison. Conde, on his side, was 
bent on making Servien disclose as many facts as possible, 
and, at the same time, on hiding his own ignorance. 
Thus the interviews resolved themselves into a series 
of verbal fencing-matches . In spite of Servien 's caution, 
it was from him that Conde learnt of Madame de 
Longueville's arrival at Stenay ; and of how she and 

1 Goulas, Memoires. 


Turenne were on the point of concluding a treaty with 
the Archduke Leopold, who was to bring Spanish troops 
to their assistance. Seryien was not without hope 
that some instinctive feeling of loyalty might prompt 
Conde to forbid such an extreme measure : ' Your 
Highness should write to those who are in Stenay ", 
he said, " and tell them of their duty to the King ". 
But the Prince turned his enemies' weapons against 
themselves, and only answered : " A prisoner can give 
no orders ". 

When the immediate fear of an escape had subsided, 
and Servien's journeys to Vincennes were discontinued, 
a surer source of information offered itself. Conti's 
health was urged, quite justifiably, as a pretext for 
visits from two doctors, Guenaud and Dalence ; the 
first-named, a well-known figure of his day, attended 
half the Court, and had all the news of Paris at his 
fingers' ends. It was Dalence who, one day in the 
early summer, found M. le Prince tending his carnations 
on the ramparts, and imparted to him tidings more 
astonishing than any that the prisoners had yet heard. 
' Madame la- Princesse la fille '- Claire-Clemence, the 
neglected wife, whose helplessness and supposed lack 
of influence had saved her from arrest was proving 
herself a heroine ! She, with her son, had escaped in 
disguise from Chantilly, where they had been kept 
under supervision ; she had gathered round her a band 
of her husband's followers, joined forces with Bouillon 
and La Rochefoucauld, and by her personal appeals 
persuaded the citizens of Bordeaux to declare openly 
against the King. The strangeness, the utter un- 
expectedness of the situation, was summed up by 
M. le Prince : " Who would have thought that I 
should be watering carnations, while my wife made 
war? M1 

Space fails in which to do justice to the gallant 
efforts of Claire-Clemence on her husband's behalf. 
She stands, an artless and pathetic figure, in marked 
contrast to the women of the Fronde. Her ten years 
of married life had been passed in obscurity as complete 
as was possible for anyone of her station. Conde 's 
attitude towards her had never materially altered since 
the early days of their marriage. He did not positively 
ill-treat her ; but except that he recognised her claim 

1 Lenet, Memoires. 


to an establishment, and to the privileges of her rank 
as his wife, he seemed to ignore the very fact of her 
existence. Through no fault of her own, she had 
committed two unpardonable offences against him : 
in the first place she represented, for all time, the most 
humiliating coercion his will had eyer suffered ; in the 
second, nature had given her no brilliant qualities, and 
she bored him. His neglect was flagrant, and inex- 
cusable ; but, even so, it could not account, alone, for 
the inconspicuous part she had played in both public 
and private life. With all her merits, it is evident 
that her personality, as a whole, failed to make any 
definite impression ; and those who knew her intimately 
had least expected to see her taking the line of decisive 
action. Lenet, with others of the Princes' followers, 
had founded great hopes on the women of the party ; 
notably on Madame de Longueville, and on the Duchesse 
de Chatillon, whose influence was now first felt in the 
House of Conde ; but to Madame la Princesse, no one, 
apparently, had ever given a thought. The Princess 
Dowager, in the despondency of grief, and of failing 
health, was unwilling to take any steps counter to the 
Royal authority ; she would only consent to humiliate 
herself before the Coadjutor, and the whole Parliament, 
imploring their favour and intercession for her sons. 
Claire-Clemence had been treated as a child, and was 
told only as much of the designs of the party as others 
thought well for her to hear ; till the day came when 
she addressed herself to Lenet, and informed him, 
privately, that she feared no undertaking which did 
not separate her from her son, the Due d'Enghien. With 
him .she would brave any dangers, " never forgetting 
what was due from her, as the wife of a Prince of the 
Blood, and more especially of one so renowned as 
her husband ". Lenet listened with joy and amaze- 
ment ; he had a very moderate opinion of the Princess's 
abilities, but he knew well that it would be hard to 
find a more valuable party asset than the young mother 
and her son. Her courage and devotion must touch 
all hearts. The Princess Dowager was persuaded to 
connive at their escape ; and a few days later (April 
loth) Claire-Clemence and the little Duke set forth, 
with a handful of attendants, on their romantic 

Some weeks passed in journeyings and hardships, 


but the Princess was true to her word, and her deter- 
mination never faltered. She travelled from Chantilly 
to Montrond, and from Montrond to join the ' army of 
the Dukes ' in the south-west. At the village of 
Anglar, in Guyenne, Bouillon and La Rochefoucauld, 
at the head of their troops, received her with acclama- 
tions ; the whole force was passed in review, and the 
Due d'Enghien, ' un vrai petit determine ', made his 
first public speech. " I am not afraid of Mazarin ", 
he said, addressing the officers, " now that I see you, 
with all these brave men ; and I know that my dear 
father's liberty depends on your courage, and on 
theirs ". In answer came the war-cry of the ' Fronde 
of the Princes ', now heard for the first time : " Vive 
le Roi ! les Princes ! et point de Mazarin ! " But no 
enthusiasm could give these untrained, hastily-levied 
recruits strength to stand against the King's troops. 
The garrisons of Bellegarde, Saumur, and Verteuil 
all held by followers of the Prince surrendered in 
turn. The ' army of the Dukes ' fell back on Bordeaux ; 
the Princess still in their midst, assisting at their councils 
and facing all the dangers of the march. Bordeaux 
had been for some time a centre of disaffection, and 
the citizens had once already taken arms against the 
Due d'fipernon, Governor of the province. Claire- 
Clemence threw herself on their mercy ; she appeared 
before the Parliament of Bordeaux, asking, in dignified 
and moving terms, a refuge for herself and her son. 
The leaders of the Parliament hesitated ; but their 
scruples vanished when the Due d'Enghien, well taught 
beforehand, put one knee to the ground and appealed 
to them "Messieurs, seryez-moi de pere ! Le 
Cardinal Mazarin m'a ote le mien ! " Bordeaux seemed 
likely to become the chief stronghold of the Princes' 
party in the south, as Stenay already was in the north ; 
Madame la Princesse and the little Duke were estab- 
lished within the walls, and negotiations were opened 
with the Spaniards, whose fleet was looked for in the 
Gironde. Mazarin, who had hitherto concentrated 
his chief efforts against Turenne on the northern 
frontier, now turned his attention to the south. Both 
in Normandy and in Burgundy, the personal presence 
of the King had acted like a charm on any subjects 
inclined to rebellion. Mazarin persuaded the Queen 
to undertake a journey to Guyenne ; she prepared to 


advance upon Bordeaux, with the King, protected by an 
army under La Meilleraie and Palluau. 

In the north, Turenne was ready to seize an advan- 
tage. He had marched from Stenay, in the early 
days of June, to join forces with the Archduke at 
Landrecies. Their united force of 40,000 men took 
Le Catelet, and laid siege, unsuccessfully, to Guise. 
Opposed to them, at the head of the King's ' army of 
Champagne ', was the Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, 1 a 
loyal and most capable commander. His force, though 
greatly inferior in numbers, for some time kept the 
enemy in check ; but he was no sooner weakened by the 
withdrawal of troops for service in Guyenne than 
Turenne and Boutteville, with an advance guard of six 
or seven thousand men, made a dash forward ; took 
Rethel, and defeated a detachment of the King's troops 
at Fismes (August i8th). Boutteville, all eagerness to 
march on Vincennes and deliver the Princes with his 
own hand, pushed on, at the head of a small cavalry 
force, as far as La Ferte-Milon. But the Archduke, 
naturally enough, was far less anxious to liberate Conde 
than to secure new possessions on the frontier ; and 
Turenne could not prevail on him to advance in sup- 
port. The alarm, however, had reached Paris ; where, 
during the King's absence in Guyenne, the Royal 
authority was represented by Monsieur. Vincennes, 
if invasion threatened, was no safe place of captivity 
for M. le Prince ; and much discussion ensued as to the 
transportation of the prisoners. Conde was the caged 
lion ; and the point at issue was, which party should 
hold the keys of the cage, and let him loose on their 
enemies at pleasure ? So long as his prison was in Paris, 
or no farther from Paris than Vincennes, the frondeurs 
felt that this power was theirs ; therefore Retz, and all 
his faction, maintained that M. le Prince would be 
nowhere so secure, as in the Bastille itself. The 
Ministers, on the other hand, advised his removal to 
Havre, where Mazarin's influence was believed to be 
supreme. Monsieur's hesitations were cut short, and 
a compromise effected, by a suggestion said to have 
emanated from Madame de Chevreuse. The fortified 
castle of Marcoussis, in Monsieur's own domains, near 

1 Cesar de Choiseul, Marquis du Plessis-Praslin, afterwards Due de 
Choiseul ; born 1598 ; distinguished in Italian campaigns, 1636-48 ; 
held important offices at Court ; died 1675. 


Limours, was the place appointed ; and on August 29th, 
the Princes were transferred thither, under a strong 
guard. In the pressing fear of Turenne's approach, 
this measure was taken in haste. The Queen, now 
established, with the Cardinal and all her suite, at 
Bourg-la-Geronde, while the Royal army laid siege to 
Bordeaux, was not even consulted beforehand. Mazarin, 
acting on the spot, might have avoided the de- 
cision ; which, as it proved, was both needless and 
unpopular. Boutteville came no farther ; but the peace 
between the Court and the frondeurs had been rudely 

The seven months of their captivity had told upon 
all three prisoners ; especially on Conti, whose state 
of health began to give rise to anxiety. M. le Prince 
was said to look thinner even than usual, and to be 
giving way, at last, to depression. Many rumours 
were current in Paris at the time ; as, that Conti was at 
the point of death ; * that M. le Prince had sent a 
message by Bar, promising eternal friendship to the 
Cardinal on condition of their release ; 2 or again, that 
Mazarin had offered the Prince his liberty if he would 
consent to a marriage between Conti and a Mancini, 
and that the idea had been rejected with scorn ; 3 but of 
these, the correspondence between Bar and Mazarin 
affords no proof. The removal to Marcoussis was a 
further discouragement, emphasising the prisoners' 
sense of helplessness ; and, as the autumn advanced, the 
news from Guyenne was not calculated to cheer them. 
Even Bordeaux had not been proof against the King's 
all-conquering presence. Mazarin, alarmed by Turenne's 
progress in the north, and the actual presence of the 
Spaniards in Champagne, was prepared to grant the 
most indulgent terms to the rebels, in return for the 
laying down of. arms and the breaking off of all negotia- 
tions with foreign powers ; fipernon's withdrawal was 
promised, and all the rights of the citizens were to 
be respected. Bouillon and La Rochefoucauld saw 
their hopes of resistance melting away, and were drawn, 
at last, into the general treaty ; which, despite their 
protests, contained no mention of the Princes' liberty. 

Claire-Clemence, who had acted throughout the 
siege with unfailing courage and presence of mind, 

1 Guy Patin, Lettres. 2 Madame de Motteville, Memoires, 

3 Lenet, Memoires, 


now found herself well-nigh deserted, and was forced 
to appear before the Queen as a suppliant for mercy. 
Her consistent ill-fortune had never been more piti- 
fully apparent ; no woman had ventured, or suffered, 
more in the Prince's cause, yet it was fated that she 
should take no direct part in his release. All she could 
obtain from the Queen was an indefinite promise, 
qualified by rebuke : " Ma cousine, I am glad to hear 
you acknowledge your fault. You set yourself in the 
wrong way to gain your end ; but now that you use 
other means, I will consider when, and how, you may 
receive satisfaction ". Leave was granted her to retire, 
with her son, to Montrond^ where she spent the next few 
months almost in solitude. 

The Princess Dowager had petitioned the Parliament 
in vain ; Conde 's allies among the members were few as 
yet, and could offer little resistance to the majority. 
Exiled from Paris, and crushed by grief and humilia- 
tion, she took refuge with her cousin, the Duchesse 
de Chatillon, at the castle of Chatillon-sur-Loing ; 
where, not long after, she was stricken by the illness 
from which she never recovered. The Duchess, gifted, 
ambitious, and unscrupulous, kept the dying woman 
entirely in her power. No other relations were allowed 
to visit her, or to hold any private communication 
with her ; and at her death it was discovered that to 
the ' beloved and faithful kinswoman ' who had thus 
tended her, were bequeathed the greater part of the 
late Princess's jewels, and the whole estate of Merlou, 
or Mello, an ancient domain of the Montmorency 

Conde was not likely to resent these dispositions 
in favour of the Duchess Isabelle. Lenet had seen 
indications of her growing power over the Prince, even 
before his captivity ; a power such as no woman had 
exercised since the days of his love 'for Marthe du 
Vigean. In the earliest days of the Chantilly clique 
there had been signs of a dawning attachment between 
' M. le Due ' and Isabelle de Montmorency ; but two 

Powerful factors had intervened : Chatillon 's passion for 
sabelle, and the irresistible charm of Marthe. Conde, 
as has been seen, had spared no pains to further the 
Chatillon marriage, and had consistently respected his 
friend's wife ; but he was not proof against the en- 
chanting influence of Madame de Chatillon as a widow ; 


while she, recognising her opportunity, determined to 
extend her own power through the conquest of M. le 
Prince. Shortly after the Princes' arrest, Lenet had 
visited her, and found her prepared to do her utmost 
in their cause. Soon, through her efforts, Conde had 
found an advocate in the President Viole, his former 
antagonist in debate, but now the slave of the Duchess. 
Viole placed himself at the head of a Parliamentary 
faction in the Princes' favour ; and among his followers 
was Deslandes-Payen, who had so fiercely withstood 
Conde on the vexed question of expenditure. The 
Parliament had no reason to love M. le Prince ; but, 
as months passed, and he was no longer present with 
them, as an incarnate spirit of discord, they remem- 
bered that Mazarin was likely, in the end, to prove a 
worse enemy. The petition of the Princess Dowager, 
which was rejected at the end of April, might have met 
with a different reception in September. No less a 
triumph for Madame de Chatillon was the winning of 
the Due de Nemours, the son-in-law of that arch- 
enemy, the Due de Vendome. Nemours, younger than 
Conde by two or three years, had been numbered among 
the ' damoiseaux ' of Chantilly, and had played an active 
part in the Flanders campaign of 1646. According to 
contemporary records, he was not handsome ; he is 
described as sandy-haired, narrow-chested, high- 
shouldered ; yet, ' avec tout, sa personne plaisait V 
and of his powers of fascination there can be no doubt. 
Of the many lovers of the Duchess Isabella, he was 
believed to be the only one whom she favoured for his 
own sake, rather than from motives of interest. On 
his side, at this time, subjection was complete ; so 
much so that his lady prevailed on him, without great 
difficulty, to offer his services for the release of a 
dangerous rival. Lenet, watching, was lost in admira- 
tion of the skill with which the Duchess conducted 
this manoeuvre ; " balancing", as he says, " her 
inclination and her interests, one against the other ". 
Nemours had no striking gifts as a politician ; but his rank, 
his social influence, and his connection with Vendome, 
made him no slight acquisition to the Princes' party. 

The failure of the ' army of release ' in Guyenne 

was, beyond question, disheartening ; but Conde's 

adherents found consolation at hand in the complaints 

1 Mademoiselle de Montpensier, 


of the frondeurs against Mazarin, and in the gradual 
transformation of popular feeling. The spectacle of 
' M. le Prince en penitence ' had lost its novelty ; and 
it had been proved that oppression and civil war still 
continued, even when the ( effroyable Rodomont ' 
was safely within four walls. After the captives had 
left Vincennes, the room that Conde had occupied was 
visited by persons of all classes, who showed ' curiosity 
and respect ' rather than exultation, and who were 
especially impressed by the sight of the historic carna- 
tions l on the ramparts. On every side the Cardinal 
was superseding M. le Prince as an object of public 
hatred ; the national resentment against him had only 
smouldered, to break out afresh. Turenne's expected 
march on Paris was heralded by placards, devised by 
the Princes' friends, and posted at the street corners, 
calling on all good citizens to rally against the foreigner ; 
and the attempt to remove them ended in a free fight 
between the townspeople and Mazarin 's officers. Later 
in the autumn the frondeurs found their grievance 
increased tenfold. The Prince, whom they had 
struggled to keep in their own hands, and whose journey 
to Marcoussis had first incensed them, was carried still 
farther beyond their reach. Mazarin haying disposed 
of the rebellion in the south, was redoubling his efforts 
against Turenne and the Archduke ; and had at length 
decided on installing the Court near Paris, while he 
advanced in person to the scene of action. War had 
no attractions for him ; but he was probably in less 
danger from Turenne's soldiers than he might have been 
from the people of Paris, had any tumult arisen. The 
magic of the King's presence was withheld from this 
expedition ; for the Queen had fallen ill, on leaving 
Bordeaux, and could only travel by slow stages to 
Fontainebleau, where she recovered her health before 
returning to Paris at the end of the year. Mazarin 
had resolved not to set out on his campaign till he had 
taken every precaution for the prisoners' safety, regard- 
less of the frondeurs' discontent, or of any other con- 
sideration. " The guarding of the Princes ", he wrote, 

1 The sight inspired Mademoiselle de Scudery to compose a ' quatrain ', 
which she wrote on the wall : 

" En voyant ces oeillets qu'un illustre guerrier, 
Arrosa de sa main qui gagnait des batailles, 
Souviens-toi qu' Apollon a bati des murailles, 
Et ne t'etonne plus de voir Mars jardinier ". 


[< is the most important matter that we have in hand ". 
Marcoussis did not satisfy him ; the position was too 
much isolated ; moreover, it appeared that, since their 
arrival, the Princes had found means of re-establishing 
communications with their friends. Bar confesses, 
grudgingly, to Mazarin, that he has now no fault to find 
with Conde's behaviour : " Truth compels me to bear 
witness that his conduct, as well as that of the other 
prisoners, is in neither contrary to the respect due to 
Their Majesties, or disobliging to their servants"; 1 
but all the while a new plot was in the making. M. le 
Prince was to escape in a small boat, specially contrived, 
across the river which surrounded the castle. Nemours, 
with the help of Arnauld ' le carabin ', had won over 
the soldiers outside the walls ; and of the seven men 
stationed at the door of the Prince's room, four were in 
league with him. This was the second scheme of the 
kind devised at Marcoussis ; the first had been betrayed 
by the careless talk of some of the Princes' party at Court, 
and now, hope was again destroyed. On November 
1 5th, Bar received orders for the instant transference 
of his prisoners from Marcoussis to the strong fortress 
of Havre. They were to be guarded on the road by a 
cavalry escort eight hundred strong, under no less a 
commander than the Comte d'Harcourt. Conde's 
anger, at first, knew no bounds. Not only was his plan 
of escape foiled ; but the humiliation of being paraded 
through the country as a captive, mocked at or com- 
miserated in every place where he passed, was in- 
tolerable. He was forced to console himself by ridi- 
culing Harcourt ; who, though he had justly earned a 
high reputation as a soldier, had no outward elegance 
to recommend him. Conde remembered the nickname 
bestowed on himself : " What," he said, " has the great 
Comte d'Harcourt become a bear-leader ? " Then, 
conscious of his own slim figure, and swift movements, 
he added : " I protest, M. de Bar, that if the question 
were put, whether he or I were the bear, no one would 
hesitate to name him ". On the journey, he begged 
those of his escort who rode nearest the carriage to keep 
to the side of the road, that he might have a better view 
of the Count on horseback ; Harcourt, it may be 
gathered, was not a graceful rider, and the sight gave 
great pleasure to his prisoner. The verse improvised 

1 * Archives Etrangtres, Paris. 


by M. le Prince on the occasion, was long quoted by his 
followers : 

" Get homme gros et court ; 
Si connu dans 1'histoire ; 
Ce grand Comte d' Harcourt, 
Tout rayonnant de gloire ; 
Qui secourut Casal, et qui reprit Turin, 
Est maintenant recors 1 de Jules Mazarin ". 

Harcourt had not added to his dignity in public 
opinion by accepting such a mission ; the nickname 
of ' the bailiff ' was repeated on all hands. Conde's 
allies drew great advantage from it ; and popular feeling 
was further stirred by a print which they caused to be 
circulated, representing Harcourt, armed to the teeth, 
leading the disarmed Prince in chains. 

The journey to Havre occupied eleven days ; 
November i5th to 26th. The prisoners were lodged in 
the * donjon ', or keep, and guarded, to all appear- 
ance, as strictly as before ; but their secret corre- 
spondence was soon organised, and flourished vigorously. 
Possibly Bar may have suspected a turn of the tide, 
and relaxed his watchfulness in some slight degree ; 
in any case, Retz affirms that " the post between Paris 
and Lyons was not better regulated " than the communi- 
cation between the Princes and their friends. Certain 
authorised letters, from Madame la Princesse to her 
husband, or from agents, on acknowledged matters of 
business, were now allowed to pass openly, after due 
inspection. By this means, no doubt, the prisoners 
heard details of the two losses widely different, yet 
both touching Conde nearly which befell their party 
before the close of the year ; the death of the Princess 
Dowager (December 2nd) at Chatillon-sur-Loing ; and 
that of La Moussaye a few days earlier, at Stenay. 
The Muze Historique of Loret, which records, in 
doggerel verse, the chief events and current opinions of 
the day, makes pathetic mention of this ' serviteur 
fidele et rare ' whose grief had aggravated the fever 
of which he died ; who, since the day of the Prince's 
arrest : 

" Sans se rejouir un seul brin, 

Avait tou jours quelque chagrin ; 

Et cela, comme on conjecture, 

L'a fail ailer en sepulture". 

' Recors ' ; bailiff, 


La Moussaye had not the military gifts of Boutteville 
or of Chatillon ; but the value of his faithful testimony, 
as eye-witness of the Prince's actions, is such, that not 
one of the ' petits-maitres ' can claim to have done their 
leader truer or more lasting service. The loss of the 
Princess Dowager, from a party point of view, was 
scarcely more than nominal ; for months past she had 
had neither health nor spirit for playing any active part. 
Conde was believed to have written her affectionate 
letters during her illness ; after her death, his regrets 
took the characteristic form of a special message to the 
Queen, begging that his present situation might not 
rob the burial of the late Princess of the honours due to 
her rank. Claire-Clemence sends her husband a formal 
letter of condolence ; mainly interesting as containing 
one of the earliest references to Conde's personal inter- 
course with his son. Careless as he was in his domestic 
relations, the Prince had still thought it worth while 
to write a separate letter from his prison to a child of 
seven years old. " My son ", says the Princess, " is full 
of delight over the letter which you did him the honour 
to write to him ; I send you the account of his character 
and occupations, which I think will give you pleasure ". 1 
Retz had every reason to speak with authority on 
the subject of the prisoners' secret correspondence. 
His natural animosity against the Cardinal was almost 
as strong as that of Conde himself, and had lately 
been heightened by a private grievance ; for Mazarin. 
obviously in fear of a rival, had refused to nominate 
the Coadjutor for a Cardinal's hat. No more was 
needed to shatter their temporary alliance. The 
King's troops were continuously successful in the pro- 
vinces ; their crowning triumph was won on December 
1 5th, in the defeat of Turenne near Rethel ; but mean- 
while a secret agency had been formed in Paris, of which 
it was truly said that such a ' corps invisible ' was worth 
more than many regiments. Montreuil was still fore- 
most in devising practical details ; but the leading 
spirit of the organisation, as a whole, was Anne de 
Gonzague, Princess Palatine, whose political ability 
and clear-headedness accomplished more for the 
Prince's cause than the devotion of Claire-Clemence, 
or even than the arts of Madame de Chatillon. Retz, 
though he had already " a natural inclination to serve 

1 A.C., December, 1650. 


M. le Prince ", admits having been greatly impressed 
by the arguments of ' la Palatine ' ; while the Premier, 
President Mole, could not resist her appeals in the name 
of justice, and of the law which he himself had helped 
to impose, against arbitrary imprisonment. At the 
same time she provided for all contingencies by main- 
taining a friendly correspondence with Mazarin ; 
urging him to free M. le Prince and to combine with him 
against the frondeurs. The Cardinal might have paid 
some heed to her advice, but for the victory of Rethel, 
which had given him a false sense of security ; as it 
was, he would listen neither to threats nor to argu- 
ments ; till the Princess finally threw the whole 
weight of her influence into the scale against him. 
Before his return to Paris, a treaty or rather several 
treaties had been agreed on between the partisans of 
Conde and the frondeurs. Madame de Chevreuse 
hesitated to lose the Queen's favour a second time ; 
but she was lured by the Princess Palatine with the 
promise of negotiations for a marriage between Conti 
and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. Special treaties, 
skilfully adapted to private ambitions, were signed by 
Nemours, Viole, Retz, the ' Garde des Sceaux ' Chateau- 
neuf, 1 the Counsellor Foucquet de Croissy, and several 
of the nobles. Retz, who had succeeded to a large 
share of La Riviere's influence, was for some time 
engaged in the inevitable struggle over Monsieur's 
wavering sympathies ; even when convinced by argu- 
ment, and bribed by promises of leadership, His Royal 
Highness could not bring himself to take the decisive 
step of adding his name, in writing, to the list. At 
length a messenger hunted him down, by dint of 
following him through the Luxembourg, with an ink- 
stand in one hand, and a copy of the treaty in the 
other ; stood over him while he signed it, and then fled 
with it, lest he should change his mind. 

On December i8th came tidings of Turenne's defeat, 
and of the destruction of the ' army of release '. The 
Princes' party were for a moment dismayed ; but the 
position they had made for themselves was not depen- 
dent upon armies. It was grounded, far more surely, 
on the national hatred of Mazarin, and this forcible 
demonstration of his power, spreading alarm in all 

1 Charles de 1'Aubepine, Marquis de Chateauneuf ; succeeded Seguier 
in this office, July, 1650. 


classes, might almost have been called by them a blessing 
in disguise. Two days later an official petition, sent 
by Madame la Princesse from Montrond, was presented 
by Deslandes-Payen at the Palais de Justice ; and in 
the debate that followed, Retz ' lifted the mask '. He 
boldly urged the Parliament to remonstrate with the 
Queen, and to demand that the Princes should be 
delivered to them to be judged, according to the Declara- 
tion of 1648 ; if they were guilty, to be punished, and if 
not, to be set free. At the same time, he made a violent 
attack on the Cardinal, declaring him responsible for 
all the disorders in the State. News of this debate, 
and of the resolution adopted to appeal to the Queen, 
was communicated as soon as possible to the prisoners. 
In return, came a scrap of paper signed with Conde's 
peculiar cipher of his initials, and addressed to Viole, 
whose pseudonym for the correspondence was * Brutus ' : 
" Your note gave us the greatest joy in the world. . . . 
We send you written authority to act for us ; leaving 
the rest to your goodwill and your capacity, from 
which we hope all things ", l The written authority 
or ' pouvoir ', was signed by all three Princes, and 
referred specially to an agreement with Monsieur. 
Viole and the Princess Palatine made use of it to the 
utmost. A betrothal was to be arranged between the 
Due d'Enghien and Monsieur's third daughter, a 
child of two years old. Conti was definitely plighted 
to Mademoiselle de Chevreuse ; Retz was to be a 
Cardinal ; Chateauneuf, Prime Minister ; and other 
rewards were to be freely distributed. 

Mazarin, returning exultant from his campaign, 
had not been many days in Paris before the knowledge 
was forced upon him that neither Havre nor any prison 
in France would hold the Princes for long. In a 
moment, as it seemed to him, his position had changed ; 
he was no longer a conqueror, but a man on the verge 
of ruin. The stroke of the flight to St. Germain, which 
had saved him two years earlier, was not to be repeated ; 
the Parisians were on the watch, and the Queen found 
herself and her son little better than prisoners in the 
Palais-Royal. Mazarin's only hope was that he might 
yet lay the Princes under some obligation to himself 
for their liberty ; but the time was almost past, even 
for this last resource. Gramont, who, alone of Conde's 

1 A.C., January, 1651. 


intimate friends, was still on genuinely good terms with 
the Court, was dispatched to Havre ; there, if possible, 
to impose conditions of release on M. le Prince, and to 
discover the extent of his dealings with the frondeurs. 
Neither mission was successful. Conde had given 
unlimited authority to his partisans, and had promised 
to execute all that they might undertake in his name ; 
but he was far too much on his guard to admit such a 
transaction, so long as the Cardinal kept any vestige of 
power. Gramont knew him too well to expect his full 
confidence, and could only report to Mazarin that the 
Prince's state of mind appeared satisfactory : "He 
did not exaggerate matters, like a prisoner who wishes 
to be free at all costs, but spoke like a reasonable man, 
who means to keep his word ". He laughed at the 
notion that he had already signed a treaty vowing 
to bring about Mazarin's ruin ; " and indeed ", says 
Gramont, " he is too clever a man for me to believe that 
he could be persuaded into taking such a step, under 
the present circumstances 'V As to the conditions of 
liberty, no conclusion had been arrived at ; and no 
time was left in which to urge them. The Parliament 
was clamouring for the Princes' release, and for Mazarin's 
dismissal ; some members swayed by the arguments of 
Retz and Viole ; others, like Mole and Broussel, by 
patriotic dislike of the Cardinal and all his works. The 
nobles had forgotten the ' guerre des tabourets ', and 
remembered only that a low-born foreigner was being 
preferred before them. The climax was reached when 
Monsieur was wrought upon to declare openly against 
Mazarin ; and, making full use of an undoubted gift of 
language, denounced him eloquently to the Parliament. 
He produced a great effect, in particular, by relating 
how, during one of their late conversations, the Cardinal 
had described the leaders of the assembly as " de vrais 
Fairfax et Cromwells ". 

Mazarin, once thoroughly convinced of his danger, 
'gave way to panic. Without waiting for Gramont 's 
news from Havre, he left Paris on foot, and in disguise, 
on the night of February 6th, and travelled to St. 
Germain. Four days later, he had started for Havre, 
accompanied by an armed escort, and carrying with 
him two secret orders from the Queen. These orders 
were addressed to Bar ; one was for the immediate 

1 * Archives Etrangeres, Paris. 

i6s i] MA2ARIN AT HAVRE 319 

release of the three Princes ; the other desired him 
to obey the Cardinal's instructions in all things, " not- 
withstanding any subsequent orders from different 
sources ". Mazarin's private letters show how, in 
the agitation of the moment, wild designs occurred to 
him of transporting the Princes, by sea, to some 
distant land, where they might be held captive till 
their own country w r as at peace ; but these only serve 
to prove his extremity. The main object he hoped 
to gain by his journey, was that of reaching Havre 
in time to pose as a liberator, and before any friends of 
the prisoners could bring news of the public order of 
release, which, at any moment, the Queen might be 
compelled to sign. In this, as far as time went, he 
succeeded ; but the Princes had been too well informed 
to suppose that they owed him anything for their 
freedom. On the morning of February i3th he arrived 
at Havre, and demanded an interview with Bar, which 
was instantly granted ; but the Cardinal's downfall 
was an open secret, and he found himself received 
with scant respect. His escort was refused admittance 
at the gates, and any lingering hopes of securing the 
town as a stronghold for his own safety were finally 
shattered. After a short interval, in which matters 
were explained to Bar, they entered the prisoners' 
room together. Mazarin announced " that the Queen 
restored to them their freedom, unconditionally ; but 
that she craved their friendship for herself, her Minister, 
and the State " ; and Bar was requested to read aloud 
the order of release. Conde received it, as he had 
done his arrest, ( en prince ' ; he showed no violent 
emotion, but gravely expressed his gratitude to the 
Queen for this recognition of their innocence, " and 
to you also, M. le Cardinal ". Dinner was about to 
be served, and he invited Mazarin to a place at their 
table ; healths were drunk, and the meal passed off 
peaceably, if with some constraint. Nothing remained 
save for the Princes to take leave of their w r arder, and 
to depart in the carriage which Gramont had placed 
at their disposal ; but Mazarin with the courage of 
despair, asked first for a private conversation with 
M. le Prince. For two hours the leave-taking was 
delayed while they talked together, alone. What 

Eassed is only known through their separate testimony, 
ut the insincerity appears to have been tolerably 


equal on both sides. Mazarin protested that he had 
had no hand in the Princes' imprisonment ; Conde*, 
chiefly anxious to end the interview, and to be gone, 
promised absolute devotion to the Queen, and even- 
so the Cardinal asserted to her Minister ; a promise 
afterwards recorded by all three Princes in the presence 
of Gramont and Lionne. Mazarin professed himself 
entirely satisfied ; though Conde's demeanour at the 
public farewell, when the Princes were escorted to the 
gates of the citadel, was certainly not reassuring. Till 
that moment, he had behaved with more circumspection 
than might have been looked for ; but under the 
stress of impatience and exultation his princely manners 
at length forsook him. Mazarin bowed low before 
him ; he turned abruptly away ; then, realising his 
liberty, his enemy's humiliation, and the * marvellous 
joy ', as he said, of feeling himself free " with his sword 
by his side ", he laughed aloud as he stepped into 
Gramont 's carriage, and told the postilion to ' whip 
up '. 

The journey from Havre to Paris was a triumphal 
progress. On the very day of their departure, the 
Princes were met on the road by a formal deputation, 
sent to proclaim their liberty, and forestalled by 
Mazarin. La Vrilliere, Secretary of State, was the 
official emissary ; accompanied by Comminges, who, 
nothing loth, was to bear the Queen's personal con- 
gratulations. With them, to show zeal and friendship 
for M. le Prince, were Arnauld, Viole, and La Roche- 
foucauld. Between Pontoise and Paris, it seemed as 
though all the nobles in France had come out with 
greetings ; some in coaches, others, by hundreds, to 
escort M. le Prince on horseback ; and from St. Denis 
onwards a dense crowd of the citizens lined the way. 
Windows, roofs, even the trees by the roadside, were 
thronged with spectators, and the air rang with the 
party cry, " Vivent les Princes, et point de Mazarin ! " 
Many chief persons of the Court came out as far as 
La Chapelle, where an affecting scene took place ; the 
whole company alighted, and Monsieur, embracing the 
Princes, declared that he had never experienced a 
more delightful moment. At the Palais-Royal, alone, 
there were few signs of rejoicing. The Queen coerced 
by the nobles and the Parliament, terrified by constant 
threats of rebellion, and, above all, distressed by 


Mazarin's flight, could scarcely restrain her tears while 
she spoke a few conventional words of welcome. 

As Conde left the Palace, popular enthusiasm 
broke out again, and followed him to the Luxembourg, 
where Monsieur entertained him at supper ; crowds 
stood outside the gates, calling frantically for " le 
heros, le dieu tutelaire de la France ! " " Mon cousin ", 
said Gaston, at last, " I think these people will die 
to-night, if you do not gratify them " ; and with that, 
he ordered the doors of the great hall to be opened. 
The multitude surged in, and Conde, facing the onrush, 
was surrounded, blessed, embraced, and almost torn in 
pieces. What money and jewels he had with him, he 
gave away ; till nothing of value was left him but his 
sword : " If that sword was mine ! " cried a young officer 
in the crowd, " I should be the happiest man alive!" 
li Here it is ", answered the Prince, " and may it bring 
you the baton of a Marshal of France ! " Meanwhile, 
fires were lighted in the streets, casks of wine were 
broached, and every passer-by was forced to drink the 
health of M. le Prince, to the sound of songs of triumph : 

-Conde, Beaufort aimable, 

Longueville et Conti, 
Ces quatre princes affables 

Soutiennent notre parti ; 
Quoique Mazarin gronde, 

Buvons a leur sante ! 
Laquais, verse a la ronde, 

Us sont en liberte ! " 

So the whole night passed. Yet, when the fires of 
rejoicing had died down, Conde 's position, viewed in 
the cold light of day, was not one to be coveted. 
Through his own doing, and through the treaties signed 
by his friends, he was pledged to more promises than 
he would ever be able or willing to fulfil ; and not one 
of his creditors was likely to be satisfied till he had 
paid the uttermost farthing. 



THE moral effect produced on M. le Prince by thirteen 
months' imprisonment was visible, firstly, in his firm 
resolve never to repeat the experience ; secondly, in 
the weakening of his sense of obligation towards the 
Crown. His own words, uttered long afterwards to 
Bossuet, claim that " he had entered prison the most 
innocent of men and that he had come out the most 
guilty ". So, at least, Bossuet reported, in his famous 
funeral oration on the Prince ; and though some 
allowance must be made for rhetoric, the statement, 
applied as it was entirely to political matters, has 
a substratum of truth. Conde's behaviour, in his 
personal dealings with the Queen, had at times been 
nothing short of outrageous ; but at each national 
crisis, as it arose, he had felt himself bound, as though 
with chains, by the instinctive adherence of a Bourbon, 
to a Bourbon King. Lenet, who both served and 
admired the Prince, but who had no confidence whatever 
in either his principles or his judgment, had waited 
in the greatest anxiety for the official letter which 
was to give justification for the arrest ; and was 
relieved beyond measure to find that, in effect, " it 
had been impossible to convict the prisoner of a worse 
crime than that of being an ambitious man and no 
courtier " . l No act of treason, technically speaking, 
could be proved against him, to outweigh his great 
and unquestioned services to the State. Henceforward, 
however, his attitude was changed. It is true that 
in the early days of his liberty his followers reproached 
him with neglecting his opportunities. The way was 
clear before him ; Mazarin, exiled by Act of Parliament, 

1 Lenet, Memoir es, 

1651] CONDfi AND THE CROWN 323 

had fled from Havre to Dourlens, and thence, skirting 
the northern frontier, to a safe refuge at Briihl ; the 
Queen was deserted by Princes and nobles alike. La 
Rochefoucauld gives his opinion that it would have 
been no hard task for M. le Prince to set aside the 
existing form of Government, banish the Queen to a 
convent, and, while establishing Gaston as Regent, 
keep the chief power in his own hands. But, if Conde 
failed to take advantage of his strength, it was no 
longer from any inherent sense of what was due 
from him as a Prince of the Blood ; so much may be 
learnt from his own admissions. It was rather that, 
as La Rochefoucauld goes on to suggest, he was 
bewildered, at first, by his freedom ; just as, had his 
prison been actually a dungeon, he would have been 
physically dazzled by the light of day ; and thus 
;< the greatness of the enterprise prevented him, in 
this troubled state, from seeing how easily it might 
have been accomplished ". 1 While he hesitated how 
best to serve his own interests ; whether by heading 
a rebellion, or by accepting overtures from the Court, 
the priceless opportunity passed ; for, like all advantages 
which depended on Conde's personal popularity, it 
had but a brief existence. 

At the first news of the Princes' liberty, their friends 
and kinsfolk flocked to Paris in hot haste to share the 
triumph ; in many cases, to claim a reward. Some of 
the ' petits-maitres ' had first to make their excuses for 
the ill-success of the ' army of release '. Tavannes 
writes mournfully of the surrender of Bellegarde, for 
which he had been responsible : "I hear that Your 
Highness is greatly incensed against me ; I confess that 
my fault could not have been greater " ; 2 but, for the 
most part, their rejoicings were unqualified. Madame 
de Longueville was among the first on the road, travel- 
ling direct from Stenay. Claire-Clemence, on her way 
from Montrond, was delayed for some days by illness ; 
but her arrival, when it took place, was greeted with 
enthusiasm. Conde, for once in his life, had shown signs 
of appreciating her devotion ; he had spoken warmly 
of his gratitude to her ; and when, at length, she came 
within fifteen miles of Paris, he set out with a long 
and magnificent train to meet her. They passed in 
through the city gates, and drove to the H6tel de Conde, 

1 La Rochefoucauld, Memoires. 2 *A.C., 1651, 


seated side by side in the Prince's state coach and hailed 
by the cheers of the citizens ; one of whom was heard to 
remark, possibly in sarcasm : ' Voila une femme fort 
cherie de M. son mari ! " Mademoiselle de Mont- 
pensier, paying a visit of congratulation, thought that 
Madame la Princesse " appeared more intelligent than 
usual ; she was so overcome with delight at seeing so 
many people in her house, and at finding herself of such 
consequence, that she positively surpassed herself ". l 
The words give a vivid impression of the poor little 
Princess, in her naive elation, and of the scant sympathy 
which she inspired. Conde seems to have made a 
genuine, if shortlived effort to amend his treatment of 
her ; but she had no power that could hold him, and 
Madame de Chatillon soon resumed her sway. On one 
point, however, the Prince's domestic relations began 
to show a marked change. His indifference towards 
his son was giving way, by degrees, to more natural 
feelings of interest and affection. He now directed 
every detail of the child's education, which was as 
carefully organised as his own had been, though on less 
strenuous lines. Bourdelot, who exercised a joint 
function as doctor and tutor to the little Duke, writes 
exhaustive accounts of his mental and bodily welfare ; 
of his progress in Latin, German and dancing, and of 
how he "no longer shows repugnance to his composi- 
tions " ; also, of how M. le Due is losing his first teeth 
" one of the front ones is loose, and will be the first to 
fall " and of the care that must be taken lest the second 
teeth should grow crooked " and give a bad shape to 
the mouth ". 2 All records tend to show that the 
Duke was a precocious and amusing child, who inherited 
more of his father's vivacity than of his mother's self- 
effacing qualities. 

Mademoiselle was at no time disposed to look in- 
dulgently upon a Princess who had figured, however 
innocently, as her rival in matters of precedence. She 
despised Claire-Clemence and had never ceased to resent 
her position ; the daughter of a mere nobleman was no 
fit match for the Premier Prince. But towards M. le 
Prince himself, Mademoiselle's feelings, during the past 
few months, had completely altered. Perhaps the 
change was not so sudden as she would have her readers 
believe, for there is a suggestion of ' protesting too 
1 Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Memoires. 2 A.C., May, 1652, 


much ' in some of the later assertions of her dislike. 
In her early girlhood she had cordially detested him ; 
he had questioned her claims, he had laughed at her, 
and she could not understand his jokes, beyond the fact 
that they were levelled at herself ; but, when all was 
said, he was still a Bourbon, and one who, more than 
any of his contemporaries, so far, had brought glory on 
his race. The indignity of his imprisonment had been 
borne in upon her as soon as the first exultation had 
passed : " I resolved " ; she says, " to overcome my un- 
reasonable aversion " ; and, in a short time she succeeded 
so thoroughly, that Conde, on his release, found no more 
loyal adherent in Paris than Mademoiselle. Their 
outward reconciliation took place at the Luxembourg 
on the evening of the Princes' triumphant return. 
Conde had been told beforehand that he might safely 
begin the topic, and he embarked on it with all possible 
frankness. He had been delighted, he said, to learn 
from Guitaut that her feelings had changed ; and " after 
a few compliments ", says Mademoiselle, " we con- 
fessed how much we had formerly disliked each other ". 1 
Amidst much amusement, they exchanged reminis- 
cences, while all the company gathered round to listen. 
Mademoiselle acknowledged that she had never known 
such happiness as on the news of the Princes' arrest ; 
and Conde, not to be outdone, assured her that he had 
heard with pleasure of her attack of small-pox, and had 
hoped fervently that she might be marked ! They 
parted with great mutual satisfaction and many pro- 
testations of friendship. Conde recognised a valuable 
ally in his kinswoman ; her high spirit appealed to him, 
and her unfailing popularity with the Parisians might 
stand him in good stead. Thenceforward he treated 
her mainly as a comrade, with an occasional touch 
of gallantry, to show her that her worth was appreciated. 
Mademoiselle, on her side, makes no secret of her dis- 
covery that M. le Prince was the man whom, had he 
been free, she would have chosen for her husband, next 
to the King himself. There was no hint of scandalous 
intrigue between them ; Mademoiselle was not given 
to sentiment, and her reputation was without a stain. 
She was a vigorous and efficient partisan of the Prince ; 
but his wife she considered more than ever as an inter- 
loper ; and, in the frequent illnesses of Claire-Clemence, 

1 Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Memoires. 


she dwelt on the chances of her recovery with a frankness 
and matter-of-factness only possible to a Princess of the 
' ancien regime '. It should be added that her comments 
on Madame de Chatillon are even more merciless ; she 
can scarcely admit the fact of Conde's obvious passion ; 
while she exposes the manoeuvres of the Duchess with 
unflagging zeal, and with more shrewdness than might 
have been looked for in so downright a character. 

Public and private affairs knew no distinctions 
in those days. Conde, reckoning up his allies, and 
calculating his advantages, found himself beset by 
demands and difficulties which would have tried a more 
equable temper, and far more political skill than he 
could boast. One leading consideration was that of 
extricating his party, without loss, from their late 
dealings with the Spaniards. Turenne, wholly out of 
his element as a rebel, was appealing to the Prince on 
the subject of negotiations at Stenay : " Your Highness 
may judge that I shall have great pleasure in knowing 
that prompt measures are being taken for concluding 
an agreement, by some means or other ; as I do not 
wish my stay here to be imputed to any other motive of 
mine than the promise I gave to Madame your sister, 
and I shall be delighted to use any honourable way of 
escape from my present position ", 1 Part of the 
original treaty, signed by both Madame de Longueville 
and Turenne, had been that, on the release of the Princes, 
every effort should be made to conclude a ' just and 
reasonable ' peace between France and Spain. Turenne 
felt himself bound to see that this agreement was 
carried out ; although the Spanish Government had 
failed to supply the sum of money promised in return. 
He spent two months in pursuing tedious and unfruitful 
negotiations, before he was relieved by the arrival of 
Foucquet de Croissy, as special envoy, at Stenay. 
Croissy was not destined to be more successful ; for it 
was soon evident that the Spaniards had no intention 
of ceasing hostilities while the unsettled state of France 
gave them such hopes of advantage ; but Turenne, 
at least, could feel that he had done his duty, and 
returned thankfully to Paris. The most obvious result 
of the negotiations was that, although the citadel of 
Stenay was still held by the Prince's troops, the 
Spaniards refused to evacuate the town ; and the 

1 A.C., April, 1651. 


garrison, with whom they were on the best of terms, 
made no effort to drive them out. Conde 's enemies, 
not unnaturally, accused him of having planned the 
surrender of Stenay ; and not his enemies only, but some 
among his own adherents believed, rightly or wrongly, 
that he secretly paved the way, at this time, for future 
Spanish transactions on his own account. 1 The letters 
exchanged between Conde and Turenne during this 
period, are full of mutual expressions of gratitude and 
friendship ; and the Marshal had no sooner arrived in 
Paris than M. le Prince visited him, took him in person to 
pay his respects at Court, and entertained him at dinner. 
Nevertheless, it was observed that, almost from the first, 
Turenne held aloof from the Hotel de Longueville, 
where the meetings of the Conde faction were usually 
held. In his own words, he " felt that the Prince, 
since regaining his liberty, was too much given to 
changing his mind ", 2 and he was not satisfied to look 
to him as a leader. Rumours were not wanting that 
Turenne had other reasons for his withdrawal, and that 
he was influenced by jealousy ; for Madame de Longue- 
ville had fallen under the spell of Nemours, and in the 
hope of outrivalling Madame de Chatillon, openly 
preferred him before all her court of worshippers. But it 
seems more probable that the atmosphere of intrigue 
and disaffection which pervaded the Hotel de Longue- 
ville had become distasteful to such a man as Turenne. 
He was not outwardly brilliant, or likely to shine in that 
circle, from a social point of view ; and his military 
enterprises as a rebel had been so consistently un- 
fortunate, that he seemed, when stripped of his loyalty, 
like Sampson shorn. Bouillon, too, was discontented ; 
his claims for the reward of his services had not met with 
such prompt attention as he thought they deserved. 
Both he and his brother were still nominally ranked 
among Conde's adherents ; but, before many months 
had passed, Mazarin, writing from his seclusion at Briihl, 
notes the gratifying news that has just reached him : 
" The Vicomte de Turenne is on very bad terms with M. 
le Prince ". 3 

The Cardinal's letters, during his exile, are perhaps 
the most illuminating contemporary record of the policy 
pursued by the Court between February and September 

1 La Rochefoucauld, Memoires. 2 Turenne, Memoires. 

3 Lettres de Mazarin. 


1651. His instructions are issued, sometimes to the 
Queen herself, sometimes through the medium of 
Lionne or Le Tellier. Her pose, according to him, 
was to be that of a martyr, persecuted by the frondeurs. 
Since the release of the Princes the Parisian mob had 
been less violently aggressive ; but it was suspected 
in more than one quarter that the Queen was only 
awaiting an opportunity to escape, with her son, in 
order to join the Cardinal, and a strict watch was kept 
over her movements. In March, Mazarin writes to 
complain of a ballet having been danced at Court ; 
"All joy", he says, "should be banished"; reports 
should be diligently spread of the Queen's grief, and of 
how the King and little Due d'Anjou 'weep to find 
themselves prisoners '. No pains are to be spared to 
win and hold Conde's adherence. The order to ' secure 
M.le Prince ' is reiterated, and one method after another 
is prescribed : " Insinuate to the Prince that once I am 
in power I will serve him in every matter that pleases 
him " : or again, " Tell the Queen to make great show 
of favour towards the Marechal de Gramont ; by this 
means she may do as she pleases with him, and he is 
the best instrument for working on M. le Prince ". 
Despite all previous experience, Mazarin seems to have 
depended sincerely on Conde's latest promises, and 
even to have looked to him for help : " I do not know 
what the others (Conti and Longueyille) will do ", 
he writes to Lionne ; " but knowing his own interests 
as he (Conde) does, I think he will be as good as his 
word ". Conde, it need scarcely be said, returned to 
Paris with every intention of keeping the Cardinal in 
perpetual banishment ; and his resolve was at once so 
evident as to draw indignant protest from the exile : 
1 II n'y a point de mechancete pareille a celle de M. 
le Prince ! " All reports tended to show that Conde 
was linking his interest firmly with those of the Fronde ; 
he was the sworn ally of Monsieur, of the Coadjutor, 
and of all the Cardinal's bitterest enemies. Mazarin 
was forced to console himself with the thought of certain 
influences that had never failed him yet : "I have no 
doubt ", he adds, reassuringly, " that the pride and 
impetuosity of M. le Prince will soon lose him many 
followers ". 

To create and maintain dissension between the 
Prince and the frondeurs was Mazarin 's object now, as 

1651] CONDfi'S ' fiTABLISSEMENT ' 329 

it had been in former years ; but he perceived, only 
too clearly, the difficulty of conducting the necessary 
intrigues from a distance. Servien and Lionne, his 
two principal agents, had been deputed to treat secretly 
with the Prince. They represented the Cardinal as 
ready to agree to any conditions that M.le Prince might 
see fit to suggest ; towns, provinces, influence of every 
kind all that he asked was to be promised, in return for 
his support. Conde had no objection to any alliance 
which offered such material advantages, and, so far as 
may be judged, was simply prepared to sell his adherence 
to the highest bidder. Moreover, he was already out 
of conceit with many members of his party, who pestered 
him with claims on his gratitude, till he declared that 
11 M. de Beaufort was indeed a lucky man to have 
contrived his escape from prison with no help save 
that of a few of his own servants ". 1 But if the followers 
of Conde knew how to press their interests, they could 
at least plead their leader's example. M. le Prince 
had secured the Governorships of four provinces 
Anjou, Limousin, Angoumois, and Beam for as 
many of his personal friends. He now demanded 
Guyenne for himself, Provence for Conti, and Auvergne 
for Nemours ; intending thus to concentrate his ascend- 
ancy, and to create what was not much less than a 
kingdom in the centre and south of France. For this 
consideration he was willing to forego the Governorships 
of Champagne and Burgundy ; but he still kept in 
his hands a chain of fortresses, reaching to the northern 
frontier. Each garrison was commanded by a trusted 
officer of his own ; Persan was at Montrond, Boutte- 
ville at Bellegarde, Meille at Clermont-en-Argonne, 
and Arnauld at Dijon ; while Marsin, than whom the 
Prince had no more devoted follower, had been restored 
to his post at the head of an army in Catalonia. ' Jugez 
quel etablissement ! ' exclaims Retz, watching with 
the usual mixture of admiration and impatience, while 
M. le Prince played ducks and drakes with his opport- 
tunities. The Queen could not bring herself to grant 
such exorbitant requests without the private sanction 
of her ex-Minister, and excused herself, as best she 
might, from a decision till his answer should arrive. 
Meanwhile dire confusion deigned in her Council, while 
she, Gaston, and Conde struggled each to keep their 
1 Madame de Motteville, M&moires. 


own supporters in important Government posts. Within 
a month the Great Seal changed hands three times ; 
Chateauneuf was succeeded by Mole, and Mole by 
Seguier. The Queen, chiefly anxious to avert any 
crisis until the autumn, temporised, and made many 
promises. All her hopes were founded on the knowledge 
that on September /th, her son, at thirteen, would 
declare his majority. His rule, at such an age, could 
only be nominal ; and she looked to maintain her 
influence over him, while at the same time she would 
be relieved of her official responsibility as Regent. 

Mazarin, hearing of Conde's expectations, took 
instant alarm ; it was one matter to make vague pro- 
mises to the Prince, and another to see them about to 
be realised in this formidable shape. The instructions 
to the Queen change their tone ; she must now devote 
her efforts to securing Retz, and must heap favours 
upon him, sooner than allow Conde to become omni- 
potent. If the scheme of Governorships is to be carried 
out, the Cardinal declares that " M. le Prince will 
need only to be crowned at Rheims ". These directions 
could not prevent the Queen from receiving Conde 's 
oath of allegiance and proclaiming him Governor of 
Guyenne ; though with regard to Conti and Nemours 
there was still time to hesitate. Every day was of value, 
for Mazarin had not trusted in vain to the effect of 
Conde 's methods as a party leader. The news of his 
treaty with the Court had roused the whole Fronde 
to indignation. Nor was this all. In the strength 
of his new alliance, he set himself to repudiate any 
promises made on his behalf, which he now found it 
inconvenient to fulfil. Foremost among these was 
the marriage of Conti and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, 
the link which was to join the interests of the frondeurs 
for ever to those of the House of Conde. Conti had 
no wish to withdraw from his share of the agreement ; 
Mademoiselle de Chevreuse was beautiful, and well 
dowered ; and her rank, as a Princess of the House of 
Lorraine, was above question. He had paid his court 
assiduously, from the first day of his freedom, and the 
preparations for the wedding were already being pushed 
forward. Suddenly there were rumours of an obstacle ; 
M. le Prince was said to be opposing the marriage, 
violently dissuading Conti, and speaking in unmeasured 
terms against Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. Her reputa- 


tion was easily attacked ; for the nature of the intrigue 
between her and the Coadjutor was well known. Conde, 
needless to say, objected on grounds of etiquette rather 
than of morality, and declared that the honour of his 
House would be impaired. This marriage had seemed 
a small price to pay when his liberty hung in the 
balance ; but now that it brought him no personal or 
political advantage, and would certainly destroy his 
new alliance with the Queen, he allowed his distaste 
for it full play. Conti's attachment was not proof 
against the sarcasms of the ' grand frere ' ; and it 
was soon observed that he had ceased his daily visits 
to the Hotel de Chevreuse. Retz, with one or two 
contemporaries, states that Madame de Chevreuse her- 
self offered to release the Prince from his word ; saying, 
no doubt in irony, that " promises made in prison were 
never meant to be kept " ; but, if she did so and the 
fact is open to doubt it was only in the hope of modi- 
fying, for herself and her daughter, a humiliation which 
she saw to be inevitable. Conde's course of action 
was no more diplomatic than usual ; and though 
accounts differ as to the exact form of message used 
to break off the marriage negotiations, all are agreed 
that not the slightest effort was made to show civility 
or consideration. Madame de Chevreuse was pre- 
pared for the blow, but it was none the less crushing ; 
she had centred many ambitions on her daughter, 
and this catastrophe seemed likely to destroy all hopes 
of a brilliant future. ' You cannot imagine ", one of 
Mazarin's correspondents in Paris writes to him, 
" the confusion and disorder that have resulted. All 
the pride and glory of the house are fled. The fair 
Princess must turn her thoughts to a convent, rather 
than to a husband ; no suitor can now present himself, 
and, in this matter, she may well be pitied ". 1 

The Duchesse de Chevreuse was not a woman to 
submit tamely to disappointment and indignity. To 
form a party against M. le Prince was seldom a hard 
task. Retz shared all the interests of the ladies of 
Chevreuse, and was further swayed by the Queen's ad- 
vances, made in obedience to Mazarin ; the Princess 
Palatine had held herself responsible for the marriage, 
and deeply resented Conde's action. In a few weeks 
a coalition was in being, not much less powerful than 

1 * Archives Etrangtres, Paris. 


that which, eighteen months earlier, had compassed the 
Princes' arrest. Retz had lately been debating between 
two courses : that of raising a rebellious faction, with 
Conde and Monsieur at its head ; and, that of combining 
with the Court against the Prince. Conde's attitude 
would have gone near to deciding the question, even 
without Madame de Chevreuse's intervention. Friends 
and enemies alike are unanimous in declaring that M. le 
Prince, for all his combative temper, had no natural 
leaning towards sedition. Apart from any motives of 
interest, he despised it, as a parody of warfare. The 
campaigns in which his soul delighted called for space, 
open plains, and great armies ; war, as understood by 
the frondeurs, suggested to him only the barricades of 
the citizens, or the exhausting and inglorious labours of 
the investment of Paris. When Monsieur, roused to brief 
indignation by Chateauneuf's dismissal, held a rebellious 
conclave at the Luxembourg, Retz, and some others of 
the company, advocated the raising of an armed riot on 
the spot; but Conde, to whom all eyes turned as a leader, 
answered scornfully, and, it must be added, untruth- 
fully, that he had neither skill nor courage for making 
war in gutters. He declared himself willing to levy 
troops on Monsieur's behalf, if His Royal Highness felt 
that matters were ripe for civil war ; an offer which, in 
view of Gaston's unmilitary tastes, was scarcely more 
than a form. Retz and the leading frondeurs, enraged 
at this defection, needed no urging to approach the 
Queen with schemes for an alliance against M. le Prince. 
It was currently reported that she was asked to sanction 
a plot for his assassination, an idea from which she 
could not but recoil in horror. No course seemed open 
but that of a second arrest, and from this, the Royal 
consent was not withheld ; but, without Mazarin's 
personal supervision, there was small chance of re- 
peating such a stroke. The scheme went slowly for- 
ward, delayed by the necessity of communications 
from Briihl ; and meanwhile all hope of secrecy 

The first warning that reached Conde was through 
Servien, who, while outwardly devoted to the Cardinal, 
had discovered private reasons for not wishing his 
return. Servien hinted at the danger, in talking to 
Gramont, on whose affection for the Prince he could 
safely rely. Gramont 's determination to stand well at 


Court prevented him giving a direct caution ; but he 
warned Chavigny, confident that the word would be 
passed on ; and soon all Conde's household are de- 
scribed as " tormenting him to take precautions for his 
own safety ". 1 For a time he held out against them, 
sustained by natural recklessness ; but in the end his 
nerves, unmercifully taxed, betrayed him utterly. At 
first he merely desisted from visits to the Palais-Royal ; 
then, as the alarm grew upon him, he surrounded him- 
self, and his dwelling, with an armed guard, to the 
indignation of many, who saw arrogance rather than 
fear in such a display. Lastly, there came the shock 
of a sudden alarm, involving the Prince in as ludicrous 
an adventure as ever befell a man of his reputation. 
On the evening of July 6th, the Hotel de Conde was 
guarded as usual ; M. le Prince was in bed, but not 
asleep ; entertained by conversation with Vineuil, a con- 
fidential agent, well known as a raconteur. To them 
enter a messenger, with a letter addressed to Vineuil, 
warning him that two companies of the King's guards 
were under arms, and marching on the Faubourg St. 
Germain, with orders to surround the Hotel de Conde 
as a preliminary to the arrest. Like a flash, there 
passed before Conde a vision of Vincennes, Marcoussis, 
and the Sieur de Bar ; and, sooner than be taken alive, 
he was prepared to throw dignity to the winds. He 
sprang up, ordered his horse, sent word to Conti to join 
him on the road, and had ridden out of Paris, before it 
was discovered that the Guards had merely been told 
off to see that a detachment of Government stores were 
safely passed into the town at the Porte St. Germain. 
Nor did the mistake end here. Conde, with some 
half-dozen attendants, had escaped by way of the Port 
St. Michel, having arranged to meet Conti at an ap- 
pointed place on the road to Issy. As the Prince 
waited at this rendezvous, not far outside the gates, a 
trampling of many hoofs approaching at a trot was 
heard through the darkness ; and, firmly convinced that 
the King's cavalry were pursuing him, he set spurs to 
his horse, and fled at full speed towards Fleury. Here, 
in the small hours of the morning, he was joined by his 
followers, and learnt the humiliating fact that he had 
been put to flight by a company of peasants ; the 
' coquetiers ', or poulterers, of Houdan, who were hurry- 
1 Goulas, Memoires. 


ing into the city to bring their supplies in good time 
for the market. 

Probably there was no man in France whose fame 
could so well have withstood such an experience ; even 
the street poets made surprisingly little use of it. But 
Conde, while he laughed, perforce, over his own discom- 
fiture, was in deadly earnest where the risk of imprison- 
ment was concerned. The alarm had been false for the 
moment, but a real danger existed none the less, and he 
was by no means prepared, at that moment, to face it. 
From Fleury he travelled, on the following day, to his 
seat of St. Maur-des-Fosses, a castle on the outskirts of 
the forest of Vincennes, built where the river Marne 
forms a peninsula, and secures it on three sides from 
approach. No place could have better served his 
present need ; he was practically safe from any sudden 
attack, and yet not too far removed from the centre of 
affairs. This refuge no sooner became known than he 
was joined by Madame de Longueyille, by Conti, and by 
many personal adherents ; besides those whom La 
Rochefoucauld speaks of as ' les incertains '. Nemours, 
and La Rochefoucauld himself, were early arrivals ; 
Bouillon and Turenne followed, with offers of support. 
The Court, at first, could only give way to laughter ; 
but it soon became evident that the situation was 
serious, to say the least. Conde's abrupt departure had 
almost amounted to a declaration of war ; and he now 
refused to stir from St. Maur, where a powerful faction 
was gathering round him. 1 The Queen felt bound to 
make some outward show of conciliation ; Gramont 
was once more chosen as special messenger, and arrived 
at St. Maur laden with assurances that the Queen 

Eledged her word for the safety of M. le Prince. Conde 
ad already prepared a statement to the effect that he 
had no rebellious intentions, but that the designs of his 
enemies had forced him to seek safety. He would only 

1 " Environ huits cents gentils-hommes, 

Et deux ou trois cents moindres hommes, 
Le lendemain les furent voir ; 
Qui par respect, qui par devoir, 
Qui par raison, qui par prudence, 
Qui par simple reverence, 

par hasard, qui tout expres, 
pour ses propres interets, 
memes par mutinerie, 
qui par fanfaronnerie ". 

Loret, Muse Historique. 

1651] CONDfi AT ST. MAUR 335 

consent to receive Gramont in the presence of several 
witnesses, before whom he declared that the Queen's 
word was not enough ; she had deceived him before, and 
was ' habile a ce metier ' ; he would never return to 
Court till those l valets of the Cardinal ', Servien, Lionne, 
and Le Tellier had been dismissed from their posts. 1 
Gramont carried back the message, with all its dis- 
courtesy ; then, unwilling to take up arms either for or 
against the Prince, he left Paris, and withdrew to his 
estates at Bidache, in Beam. 

Eight weeks of political turmoil followed Conde's 
flight, before the inevitable climax was reached and 
open war declared ; weeks during which it would be 
difficult to say which of the leading combatants played 
the least edifying part. Conde knew in his heart, even 
while he struggled against the knowledge, that the die 
was cast, and that he was fated to lead a civil war ; all 
that remained to him was to secure as much influential 
support as possible. Two days after he reached St. 
Maur, he sent Conti to deliver a statement of justifica- 
tion to the Parliament ; and La Rochefoucauld was dis- 
patched with a like message to Monsieur. The Par- 
liament, headed by Mole, were at no pains to hide their 
disapproval ; although hatred of Mazarin moved them 
to make a request that assurances of safety might be 
given to the Prince. The Queen replied by an act of 
concession ; Servien, Lionne, and Le Tellier were dis- 
missed ; but, in order that some show of authority might 
be maintained, Chavigny was also banished from the 
Council. Conde still held aloof from the Palace, and 
slept every night at St. Maur ; he consented, however, 
to spend some hours in Paris, on July 2ist, and to thank 
the Parliament, in person, for their efforts on his behalf. 
Mole spoke to him, as the Counsellor Talon says, ' in the 
language of a father ', pointing out that the Queen had 
complied with nearly all his requests, and exhorting 
him to be reconciled to her ; in particular not to leave 
Paris that day without visiting the Palais-Royal. 
Conde, as was well known, had no gift for oratory ; his 
attitude before Mole was that of a child in disgrace ; 
ashamed, but unrepentant. He made a halting, inde- 
finite answer, and withdrew ; only to return directly 
to his rebel counsellors at St. Maur. More than once, 
during the next month, he repeated his visit to Paris, 

1 Madame de Motteville, Mkmoires. 


passing sometimes before the very doors of the Palace, 
but, to the scandal of both Court and Parliament, 
never setting foot within. On one occasion he met the 
King face to face driving in the Cours-la-Reine, and 
still made no attempt to seek an interview. Further 
defiance was seen in the gaieties organised at St. Maur, 
where M. le Prince was holding a court scarcely less 
brilliant than that of the Palais-Royal. The influence of 
Madame de Longueville had never been more in the 
ascendant ; and nothing could be more characteristic of 
the age than the ardour with which she urged her 
brother to plunge the country into a civil war, in 
order that she might have a pretext for not returning 
to her husband, with whom she was on the worst of 
terms ; for Longueville, persuaded by his daughter, had 
cut himself off from his wife's family, and shown a 
pronounced leaning towards the Court. La Rochefou- 
cauld, notwithstanding his protests, and his growing 
jealousy of Nemours, seems to have seconded the 
Duchess vigorously ; and the treaty, dated July 22nd, 
which marks a decisive step towards open rebellion, is 
written in his hand. " We, the undersigned, declare that 
we persist in securing safety for the person of M. le 
Prince, and of all who sign this paper, by every means 
in our power, and even by force of arms if need be n . 1 
The signatures are those of Conde, his brother and 
sister, Nemours, Viole, and La Rochefoucauld. Each one 
of the six is further pledged to enter on no negotiations 
without the consent of the remaining five ; and, should 
they resort to arms, no peace is to be concluded till all 
shall declare themselves satisfied. These terms once 
agreed upon, the circle of St. Maur judged it well to 
separate. Madame de Longueville, with Madame la 
Princesse and the Due d'Enghien retired to Montrond ; 
Conde, deprived of all excuse for absence by the dis- 
missal of the ' Cardinal's valets ', consented to return 
to Paris, guarded as before. 

Once established at the Hotel de Conde, he could 
no longer refuse to appear before the Queen ; and, 
after some persuasion, he presented himself at the 
Palace, accompanied by Monsieur, who did his best 
to relieve the situation ; but the visit is described as 
' brief and cold ', and was not repeated. Mutual 
recriminations were exchanged by the two parties, 
1 The original document is among the Archives of Chanlilly. 


before the Parliament ; the Prince denouncing his 
enemies as ' Mazarins,' and accusing them in the 
Council of secretly treating with the Cardinal ; they, 
in answer, pointing to the warlike preparations now 
being made in all the strongholds of the Conde family. 
On August 1 7th, just three weeks before the date of the 
King's majority, the Queen, with the help and advice 
of Retz and Chateauneuf, sent to the Parliament a 
solemn indictment of the Prince's conduct. The dis- 
course opened diplomatically with renewed assurances 
against Mazarin's return ; it then proceeded to publish 
the misdeeds of ' our cousin the Prince of Conde '. 
He had sown dissension in the Queen's Council, and 
had brought charges against her Ministers ; worse still, 
he had entered into negotiations with a foreign power 
(Spain), and had sent orders to the officers in his for- 
tresses which could only be accepted as preparations 
for civil war. 

These two latter accusations brought Conde next 
day to the Palais de Justice, ' 1'ceil brillant, et le cceur 
hardi ' ; l hotly protesting his innocence, and denying 
charges, some of which were only too well founded. 
The toils of faction had closed round him. His aversion 
to the prospect of civil war was perfectly genuine, 
and he had little confidence in those who were urging 
him to it ; he would not have been surprised to learn 
that as was actually the case they had signed 
another treaty among themselves, agreeing to combine 
against him on the smallest provocation. But his 
moral nature had not the toughness of fibre which 
would have enabled him to withstand their persuasion ; 
only a man of iron could have resisted such influence, 
and Conde's temperament was rather one of quick- 
silver. The debates in which he sought to justify 
himself were almost farcical, but the prevailing excite- 
ment was so great that farce might, at any moment, 
have been turned to bloodshed. Retz and Conde 
publicly exchanged taunts and insults in the great 
hall of the Palais de Justice ; while, on the steps and 
in the ante-rooms of the building, there waited bands 
of armed followers, who needed but a signal to engage 
in open fight. The Queen, it was said, " since she 
hated both factions equally, would have been glad if 
they and their leaders had killed each other to the, last 

1 Loret, Muze Historique. 



man " ; l but since she was still obliged to confer 
favours upon Retz, she sent a company of her own 
guards to protect him. Monsieur was definitely taking 

Eart against her ; terrorised by Conde, who threatened 
im, and was even believed to have struck him, in 
private, he read aloud before the Parliament, on August 
1 9th, a statement which declared the Prince justified 
in all his actions. At the third debate (August 2ist) 
the hope of a free fight was within an ace of being 
realised. Mole, protesting against the use of the ante- 
rooms as a ' place d'armes ', requested M. le Prince to 
withdraw his followers. Conde made no objection, 
and deputed La Rochefoucauld to see that the order 
was carried out ; Retz, eager to assert his equality 
on this point, announced that his men also should 
withdraw, and pushed before the Duke to give the 
word in the ante-room. Then followed a most un- 
seemly scuffle, in the course of which Retz was pinioned 
between the folding-doors of the hall, and believed, 
as did everyone present, that his last hour had come. 
His audacity never failed him : ' Keep calm, my 
friend ", he cried to La Rochefoucauld, " we can do 
each other no harm ; for you are a coward, and I am 
a priest ! " "I lied ", he adds, in parenthesis, " for he 
(La Rochefoucauld) is full of courage ". Two or three 
officers, intervening, contrived to release the victim, 
and ordered out the men-at-arms ; but Retz attended 
no more debates till the crisis had passed. Yet, with 
all this open hostility, he and Conde showed a lurking 
mutual regard in their dealings ; each felt the other 
to be a worthy- opponent ; and the Prince, on one 
occasion at least, did his enemy no small service. It 
happened that, on the day after this encounter in 
Parliament, the annual religious procession of the 
' Grande Confrerie ' was passing from the Church of 
the Cordeliers to that of La Madeleine de la Cite. In 
the centre of the procession, following the relics and 
the Blessed Sacrament, and at the head of the clergy 
of Paris, walked the Coadjutor, vested in his pontifical 
habit, and ' with the outward seeming of a St. Ambrose '. 2 
As they turned into the Rue du Paon, the Grande 
Confrerie found themselves face to face with a retinue 
of a very different kind ; M. le Prince was coming 
from the Palais de Justice, with La Rochefoucauld 

1 Montglat, Mtmoires. z Goulas, Mtmoires. 


and Rohan in his coach, and a train of nobles, armed 
men, and citizens in attendance. At the sight of 
Retz, a tumult rose among the Prince's suite, who 
raised the cry, ' Au Mazarin ! ' and prepared to 
attack the enemy in good earnest, defenceless as he 
was, and surrounded by priests and choristers. Conde 
stepped from his carriage, ordered back his followers, 
and, falling on .one knee, asked the Coadjutor for his 
blessing. Retz, perfectly aware of Conde 's unorthodox 
views, played his part with keen appreciation. As a 
dignified prelate he blessed the son of the Church ; 
then, uncovering his head, he gravely saluted the 
Prince ; neither betrayed himself by look or word, 
and the procession passed on. The story, told with 
infinite amusement by M. le Prince, gave great enter- 
tainment, an hour or two later, to Gaston and a select 
audience at the Luxembourg. 

The Parliament, still acting out of opposition to 
Mazarin, agreed, after some hesitation, that the Queen 
should be requested to declare herself satisfied, and to 
withdraw her accusations against the Prince. But 
now, when only a few days must pass before the King's 
majority was declared, his mother was no longer anxious 
to conciliate Mazarin 's chief enemy ; she was rather 
disposed to drive him to extreme measures, hoping, in 
the first disturbance, to find a pretext for recalling 
her Minister. Monsieur, who leant towards peace at 
any price, offered himself as mediator between the 
Prince and the Court ; but his methods only served 
to widen the breach between them. The Queen had 
deliberately challenged Conde 's displeasure by further 
changes in the Ministry ; two of his opponents, Chateau- 
neuf and Mole, were recalled, contrary to his known 
wishes. To Monsieur, and to the parliamentary dele- 
gates, she professed herself willing to withdraw her 
charges ; but she refused to make a formal announce- 
ment to this effect, until the Prince should have 
manifested his loyalty by doing public homage on 
the occasion of the King's majority. Conde, on his 
side, maintained that it was impossible for him to 
take part in any ceremony of the kind while such 
imputations were made against him ; and the news of 
Mole's and Chateauneuf's appointments confirmed his 
decision. The 7th of September came, and passed. 
Louis rode in state to the Palais de Justice, and took 


up the reins of government in due form ; but the 
Premier Prince, who should have played a notable part, 
was conspicuous only by his absence. His place was 
filled by Conti, a most inefficient substitute, from 
every point of view. Conde had retired to Chantilly, 
and was there stifling, not without difficulty, the last 
vestiges of his inherent distaste for civil war. The 
Bourbon instinct, which he had believed to be extin- 
guished by the wrongs of his captivity, stirred again, 
at the eleventh hour, and tormented him. Yet the 
present attitude of the Court, as well as that of his 
allies, was likely to leave him no choice. His letter 
to the King, explaining the reasons of his absence from 
the ceremony, was left unanswered ; and the Queen, 
in spite of Monsieur's representations, was refusing 
even to postpone the recall of Mole and Chateauneuf. 
Already the King's troops had received orders to march 
against the remnant of the ' army of release ', and 
Tavannes was driven to make a hasty retreat towards 
Stenay. No course seemed open to the Prince but 
that of quitting Chantilly for some stronghold in one 
of his own provinces, and there gathering his forces 
for open war. Montrond was appointed, accordingly, 
as a rendezvous ; and two days after the momentous 
7th of September he set out on his journey. Even 
in the moment of starting, he wrote to Monsieur, 
announcing his departure, but leaving a loop-hole for 
the reopening of negotiations. As fate would have 
it, almost the same hour brought fresh instructions to 
the Queen from Mazarin ; M. le Prince was not to be 
driven to extremities, lest civil war should give too 
great an opportunity to the enemies of France. Forth- 
with, the Ministerial appointments were cancelled, 
and Monsieur was empowered to send the tidings to 
the Prince. But Monsieur had no notion of haste in 
any undertaking. La Rochefoucauld accuses him of 
delaying to write, for twenty-four hours, out of pure 
indolence ; Retz, by a more elaborate theory, of secretly 
ordering the messenger to make a pretence of confusing 
Augerville-la- Riviere where Conde was to await his 
answer with Angerville, near fitampes, and so to 
arrive only after the Prince had continued his way. 
In either case, the result was the same. Conde waited 
at Augerville for a day and a night, growing each 
moment more exasperated, as he saw his advances 


treated with apparent neglect. On the second morn- 
ing his mind was made up ; he set forth again, and 
had ridden as far as Bourges when the belated messenger 
overtook him, and presented the dispatch. Monsieur 
reported the Queen's concession, but the general tone 
of his letter was vague and strictly non-committal. 
The Prince is said to have told his followers that if this 
letter had come earlier, it might have changed his 
decision ; but that since he was already in the saddle, 
he would not dismount for such uncertain hopes. No 
doubt the enthusiastic greeting given him by the 
citizens of Bourges was fresh in his mind, and had 
raised his expectations of national support. On 
September i5th he came to Montrond, and was there 
received with renewed urgings to declare war. Madame 
de Longueville, La Rochefoucauld, Nemours, all the 
circle of St. Maur, joined in persuasion. Conde turned 
on them at last : ' Well, you shall have your way. 
I will make war ! But remember what I tell you. I 
draw the sword now, against my will ; and for all that, 
I shall be the last to sheathe it ! " 

Thus was inaugurated the last phase of the ' Fronde 
of the Princes '. The time, so far as Conde was con- 
cerned, was not propitious. He had delayed too long ; 
if he was to head a rebellion, his decision should have 
been taken some seven months earlier, in the first 
triumph of his release, when the Princes and the great 
mass of the nobles would have supported him without 
question. Now, when his vacillations had caused 
widespread discontent, he found many defaulters among 
those whom he had reckoned his allies. Monsieur 
would declare for neither side ; in the words of one of 
Mazarin's informants, " Son Altesse Roy ale ne sait sur 
quel pied danser ". l Longueville, whom the Prince 
visited at Trie, near Paris, could not resist a personal 
appeal, and promised adherence ; but Conde had no 
sooner left him than he wavered, and sent a messenger 
in pursuit retracting his word. Gramont would take no 
active part on either side, and continued in retirement. 
Conde writes to him in terms which mark the difference 
between their public and private intercourse : " You 
know me well enough not to doubt my grief on finding 
myself driven by my enemies to take my present resolve ; 
but my life, my honour, and all else that concerns me, 

1 * Affairs Etrangdres, Paris, 


are involved. You know all my thoughts, and that I 
was reduced to the last extremity before taking this 
decision ; but, since they have forced me into it, I shall 
act in such a way as to make them repent ; and to you, 
from whom I can hide nothing, I say that I will spare 
no pains to triumph in the end. I have such means at 
hand, and so little regard for my enemies, as to feel no 
uneasiness. I wish with all my heart that nothing may 
occur, in this vexatious business, to lessen our friend- 
ship ; I, on my part, will do all I can to prevent it, and I 
doubt not but that you will do the same on yours ; and 
I hope you will do nothing against me without first 
telling me that you are forced into it ; for till then I shall 
take no steps to defend myself from you, knowing that 
you would only act in such a way on compulsion n . 1 

Gramont's attitude, for purposes of war, was practi- 
cally neutral, as was that of most members of his 
family : "I think you will not wish to be the first to 
declare war against us ", 2 Conde writes to the Comte 
de Gramont-Toulongeon, the ' Prince d'Amour ' of 
Chantilly. The great families of La Force and La 
Tremoille declared for the Prince ; but on the death of 
the old Marshal de la Force, not long afterwards, his 
son withdrew the promised support. All defections, 
however, paled before that of Turenne ; on whom, in 
spite of some personal coolness, Conde had still relied, 
and to whom, as soon as war was declared, he had 
written, offering the command of the troops on the 
northern frontier. But Turenne had done with 
rebellion ; any personal motives that attached him to 
the Prince's cause had vanished in the past few months. 
He declined the appointment ; and Bouillon, knowing 
him resolved, sent back by Conde 's messenger Gour- 
ville instead of a promise of adherence, suggestions 
by which the Prince's party might, even now, make 
terms with the Court. 

Conde was enraged by Turenne 's refusal, which 
deprived him of an invaluable ally, and rudely shook 
the confidence he had expressed to Gramont. In his 
anger, " he was more bent ", says Gourville, " on not 
doing what the Due de Bouillon proposed, than on 
consulting his own and his friends' interests ". He 
made no attempt to conciliate the Duke, but set himself 
immediately to strengthen his position by other means. 

M.C., September, 1651. ? *A.C., September, 1651. 


Lenet was dispatched to conclude a treaty with the 
King of Spain in Madrid ; while Gourville, that untiring 
conspirator, asked, and obtained, leave to set out 
for Paris, there to kidnap and imprison the Coadjutor, 
whose influence was holding Monsieur to the Court. 
The plot was skilfully laid, but failed, owing to a chance 
which caused Retz to leave the Hotel de Chevreuse 
in a friend's carriage, instead of in his own. Lenet 's 
mission, on the other hand, brought about results of 
infinite importance. He came from Madrid bearing 
the conditions which for eight years were to bar the 
way against Conde's return to loyalty. The treaty 
was drawn up on the same lines as that signed, eighteen 
months earlier, by Madame de Longueville and Turenne ; 
Spain was to furnish money, troops for the northern 
frontier, and a fleet for the Gironde, in return for the 
alliance of M. le Prince. It should be observed that 
Conde, as a Prince of the Blood, treats with Philip 
of Spain on equal terms ; his nominal attitude, through- 
out, is that of the King's ally, not of a General in his 
pay. The additions to the treaty included Conde's 
promise to surrender a French port to the Spanish fleet; 
and a stipulation that he himself should hold the chief 
command over the united forces, wherever he might be 
present with them. Chief of all were the clauses relat- 
ing to the possible conclusion of peace ; clauses which, 
as the French historian of the House of Conde has 
pointed out, seemed at one time likely to wreck the 
Prince's career beyond all hope, and which were yet to 
save and restore him in the end. 1 " The troops of M. le 
Prince " so runs the agreement " are not to lay down 
their arms until a just, equal, and honourable peace 
shall have been concluded between France and Spain " ; 
and " His Catholic Majesty " is pledged " to make no 
peace with France without the consent of M. le Prince, 
and without assuring him just and reasonable satis- 
faction ". 

Conde's plan of campaign had been devised while 
he still counted on Turenne 's adherence. Two armies 
were to march upon Paris ; one advancing from the 
north-east through Champagne ; the other from 
Guyenne, across the Loire. Conde himself commanded 
in the south ; but of his officers, many of the best and 
most trusted were scattered far and wide, levying troops, 
1 Due d'Aumale, Histoire des Princes de Condt. 


and preparing to defend fortresses. With the Prince in 
Guyenne were La Rochefoucauld, the young Due de 
Richelieu, and La Tremoille, Prince de Tarente, the 
eldest son of that house. No one man could hope to 
fill the void left by Turenne ; but some consolation 
was at hand in the shape of a message from Marsin, 
who, at the head of four regiments from his Catalonian 
army, was hastening to join the Prince. " Le bon- 
homme Marsin will be of some use ", Conde wrote 
to Gramont ; " and his troops, though not strong in 
numbers, will give substance to the recruits. I know 
this news will not please you, as you have always 
wished me to be reconciled to the Court ; still, you 
cannot be sorry to know that I am in a condition to 
prevent myself from being entirely overwhelmed ". l 
Aymar de Chouppes was another hardened warrior ; 
but, with few exceptions, the officers of the Prince's 
army were chosen, perforce, for political rather than 
,for military reasons. The rank of the Due de Nemours 
demanded an important post, and Conde, after some 
hesitation, decided to give him the command of the 
northern forces ; Tavannes, whom he was to supersede, 
would act as his Lieutenant-General, and must keep him 
as far as possible from any fatal blunders. Nemours 
had shown himself to have no lack of courage in war ; 
but as a substitute for Turenne he was nothing less 
than ludicrously inadequate. The initial difficulty 
of conveying him from Guyenne to Flanders proved 
almost insurmountable ; the Royal troops were occupy- 
ing posts throughout all the centre of France, and it was 
impossible for any well-known rebel leader to make 
the journey without great risk of being waylaid and 
taken prisoner ; while Nemours, fragile in health, capri- 
cious and uncontrolled in temper, was wholly unfitted 
for the hardships of such an undertaking. It was 
agreed that the safest method of travelling was by sea, 
and he therefore set out from Bordeaux, with Chavagnac 
and a small band of followers ; but a tempest, which 
arose a few hours later, drove the ship aground among 
reeds and mud, some thirty miles farther along the 
coast. Nemours, who had been brought on shore 
half-dead from sea-sickness, declared that " not for a 
thousand kingdoms would he set foot again on board any 
ship " ; and that, come what might, the rest of the 
M.C., October, 1651. 

i6si] CONDfi'S REVERSES 345 

journey must be made by land. Chavagnac procured 
horses, and took the precaution of disguising the Duke 
as a valet before they proceeded on their way. They 
reached the frontier at last in safety, but not without 
many narrow escapes ; one in particular is recorded 
when, at a stopping-place on the road, Nemours, regard- 
less of his disguise, risked the discovery of the whole 
party by persistently demanding, l d'un ton de prince ', 
a certain ' sirop de cerises ' on which he had set his 
heart. Chavagnac finally left him at Soissons, and 
returned, thankfully, to the army of Guyenne, whence 
good officers could ill be spared. 

The Prince had travelled from Montrond to Bor- 
deaux, where the citizens received him joyfully as 
their new Governor, the supplanter of fipernon. Else- 
where his cause did not prosper ; for the King, pur- 
suing the course of action which had met with such suc- 
cess a year earlier, made a progress to Bourges. The 
effect was instantaneous ; at the first summons the 
Governor threw off his allegiance to Conde, and Louis 
entered the town amidst acclamations of delight. 
Turenne was preparing to guard Paris. Conde 's 
opponent in Guyenne was none other than the Comte 
d'Harcourt ' 1'homme gros et court ', as the Prince 
still calls him in private correspondence whose 
seasoned troops, opposed to the raw recruits of the rebel 
army, were soon to avenge their leader for such insults. 
Not all Conde's individual skill and energy could 
supply the lack of training, both in officers and men ; 
or that of pay-money for retaining their services ; and 
though he avoided defeat in the field, one minor reverse 
followed another, with little or no intermission. Har- 
court did not press his advantages ; had he been a 
general of the type of Turenne, the Prince's army 
could scarcely have escaped utter destruction. As 
matters stood, Conde after some three months of 
warfare, could not blind himself to the fact that his 
cause was losing ground on all sides. Saint-Luc, 
Governor of Languedoc, was levying forces to support 
Harcourt ; the Prince had scarcely one General Officer 
on whose capacity he could rely ; and at Bordeaux, 
his chief stronghold, his followers were mainly engaged 
in quarrelling among themselves. 

His situation would have been desperate but for 
an event which, while seemingly a triumph for his 


arch-enemy, turned a wave of popular feeling once 
more against the Court. Mazarin was returning to 
France. The Queen had almost welcomed civil war, 
as affording opportunities for his recall ; and now, 
with her formal sanction, he set out to meet the Court 
at Poitiers, escorted by a force of seven thousand 
men, raised at his own expense on the German 
frontier, to place at the King's disposal. In Paris, 
the news of the Cardinal's journey was received with 
wrath and dismay. Monsieur so far forgot his inde- 
cision as to order forces to be levied in his domains, 
and to form them, with his household troops, into an 
army, whose command he bestowed on Beaufort ; 
and, at the same time, he wrote to Conde, definitely 
suggesting terms of alliance. The Parliament, who 
had lately registered the King's decree, proclaiming 
the Prince a traitor, now put forth another, on their 
own authority, setting a price on the Cardinal's head, 
Conde lost no time in seizing his advantage ; he was 
even alleged, in some quarters, to have foreseen the 
result of Mazarin 's return, and to have sent messages 
to the Queen, secretly giving his consent ; but in the 
existing maze of intrigue, such accusations were freely 
made without proof. There is no doubt that he 
dispatched a letter to the Parliament, offering his 
services against the Sicilian invader ; nor that a treaty 
of alliance between him and Monsieur was signed on 
January 24th (1652). The rebel reverses in the south 
were not over ; but the expectation of support in Paris 
opened new possibilities before Conde, and saved him 
from despair. 

In February, Harcourt was encamped on the 
northern bank of the Garonne, while Conde, leaving 
Marsin to check the enemy's advance, marched to 
join Conti at Astaffort, near Agen. Saint-Luc, coming 
up from Languedoc, had reached Miradoux, a small 
town some miles south of the Garonne. Here the 
Prince met him, and a sharp engagement took place ; 
Conde had a horse killed under him ; six squadrons of 
Saint-Luc's cavalry were routed and the remainder of 
his force took refuge, some at Lectoure, some within 
the walls of Miradoux. Conde 's years of victory had 
given him a self-confidence which could not always 
be justified ; he invested the town, and refused terms 
to Saint-Luc's soldiers within it, believing that they 

1652] RETREAT TO AGEN 347 

would be forced to yield themselves prisoners of war. 
He should have known better what to expect of the 
regiment which, under his own orders, had opened 
the trenches at Lerida to the sound of violins. The 
officer in command, summoned to surrender, merely 
returned the celebrated answer, " Je suis du regiment 
de Champagne ", and forthwith organised a stubborn 
defence. Marsin failed to check Harcourt 's march 
to the relief, and the rapid advance of the Royalists 
forced Conde, much against his will, to raise the siege. 
Chouppes, who was manifestly jealous of Marsin, 
attributed his failure to disregard of the Prince's 
orders, and accused him to his face, when, retreating 
before Harcourt, the Count rejoined the main army. 
There were high words between them, till Conde 
intervened : " Gentlemen, this is my affair. If I had 
one more regiment with me, I would not stir ; but 
there is no help for it; we must go". 1 This retreat 
from Miradoux was the most humiliating experience 
of the campaign. Conde 's scouts, like the greater part 
of his army, were untrained ; and Harcourt had come 
within three miles of him before the alarm was given. 
Fortunately for the rebel force, the Royalists lost some 
hours in taking possession of a small fortress by the 
way, and thus Conde was able to hurry his troops, in 
great disorder, to Agen. Even here he found a hostile 
population, prepared to close their gates against him ; 
and admission was not granted till he had appeared 
almost as a suppliant before the authorities. 

Once within the walls, he summoned La Roche- 
foucauld and Marsin, and announced to them a new 
resolve ; namely, to give up the struggle in the south, 
and, leaving his troops at Bordeaux, to make his way 
to join the allied troops who were marching on the 
Loire. Nemours and Beaufort had joined forces, and 
were now at the head of twelve thousand men ; but 
since neither had the gifts of a commander, and since, 
despite their relationship, they could never meet 
without quarrelling, the need of some supreme authority 
was imperative. Chavigny, with others of the Prince's 
adherents, had written in pressing terms, urging him 
to come northwards and assume the command ; with 
him as a leader, the ' army of the Princes ' would hold 
its own against the forces of both King and Cardinal. 

1 Chouppes, Memoires, 


Foucquet de Croissy, writing from Paris, puts forward 
an irresistible appeal ; showing, incidentally, that 
the title by which M. le Prince is known to posterity 
was first bestowed in his lifetime : " We have so often 
sent word of the need for Your Highness 's presence 
here, that, without repeating any further reasons, I 
will content myself by saying that, since the troops 
of M. de Nemours crossed the frontier, you are wished 
for by all the citizens, who never cease asking for their 
Great Conde ". 1 The Prince, disgusted with his position 
at Agen, and realising its hopelessness, asked nothing 
better than to set out. The journey was to be made 
by land ; only a part of it, in any case, could have 
been made by sea ; but the danger of capture, which 
had threatened Nemours, was increased tenfold in 
the case of M. le Prince, who was a more conspicuous 
personality in every way, and would be a far more 
valuable prisoner. Marsin and La Rochefoucauld both 
begged to accompany him, but only La Rochefoucauld 
gained permission ; Marsin, more to be relied on in 
military matters, was left to guard Bordeaux, under 
the nominal orders of Conti. The Prince next sent 
for Chavagnac, and told him that he must be their 
guide, since he had made a like journey with Nemours. 
Chavagnac demurred ; " it would be too great a risk 
for His Highness, who was well known throughout all 
the kingdom ". Conde answered : "I have no wish 
to play the Gascon (i.e. to boast) although we are in 
Gascony ; still, you have seen me in danger often 
enough to know that I am not afraid of being shot, 
or hanged. You need think of no more objections ; my 
mind is made up ". He might have added that he 
feared imprisonment more than death ; but that he 
would brave even that danger sooner than refuse the 
opportunity that offered. Thus silenced, Chavagnac 
lost not an instant in making preparations ; and a few 
days later, Conde set forth from Agen to supersede 
Nemours, and to measure himself against Turenne. 

1 * Affaires Etrangeres, Paris. 



IT was on March 24th (Palm Sunday) that Conde rode 
out of Agen with his small band of followers. The 
party, fully mustered, numbered nine persons besides 
the Prince ; namely, La Rochefoucauld ; his son, the 
Prince de Marcillac, a boy of fifteen ; Guitaut ; 
Chavagnac ; Bercenay and Saint-Hippolyte, officers 
in La Rochefoucauld's household ; the Marquis de 
Levis, a Gascon nobleman ; Rochefort, Conde's valet ; 
and Gourville. Levis held a passport from Harcourt, 
which he had secured on the pretext of withdrawing 
himself and his household into Auvergne, and which 
was to serve him and his companions at every place 
where they were challenged. They left Agen without 
pomp, but without concealment, at midday; giving 
out that M. le Prince was summoned to Bordeaux by 
affairs of State. Outside the gates they were met 
by a guide, who brought with him four muskets, hidden 
in a bundle of straw. Conde, La Rochefoucauld, 
Bercenay, and Gourville each took one ; the Prince 
passed his to Rochefort, who carried it for him. 
Marcillac went unarmed ; for it was rightly supposed 
that the fatigue of the journey would be as much as 
he could bear, and that he ought to carry no extra 
weight. For some miles they followed the road to 
Bordeaux, in order to avoid suspicion ; but at the ford 
of Drot they crossed the Garonne, and began the 
journey in earnest. Their way lay almost due north, 
for a distance of some three hundred miles, to where 
Nemours and Beaufort were concentrating their forces 
on the Loire ; Nemours' headquarters were at Lorris, 
eight or nine miles from the river's right bank, between 
Gien and Orleans. Conde's original plan of campaign 
had perforce undergone alteration. The Loire country 


350 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

was now the chief seat of operations ; the Court had 
left Poitiers, and was moving eastwards from Saumur, 
protected by a powerful army under Turenne. A 
decisive victory, at this point, would enable the Princes 
to seize ' la personne du Roi ', dispose of Mazarin at 
their will, and march unchecked upon Paris ; but so 
long as Nemours and Beaufort were occupied with 
their private quarrels, and hindered by contradictory 
orders from Monsieur in Paris, and from Conde in 
Guyenne, the Royalists had little or nothing to fear. 

On the day that they left Agen the travellers 
covered a distance of thirty-five miles without en- 
countering danger. The leaders of the party had each 
assumed a name, by which to be entered on the pass- 
port ; La Rochefoucauld was ' Beaupre ' ; Chavagnac, 
' St. Amand ' ; and Conde, ' La Motheville '. Beyond 
this precaution, and that of being equipped ' en cavalier ', 
rather than ' en seigneur ', there was little attempt made 
at any personal disguise. No efforts would have con- 
cealed the identity of M. le Prince from anyone who 
had seen him before ; his face, his figure, even the 
air with which he carried his head, were all alike 
characteristic ; his chance of safety lay, not in any 
elaborate masquerade, but in spending as few days as 
possible on the road, and in avoiding all populous 
places. Monday morning found the party on the 
outskirts of Cahusac, where Gourville left his com- 
panions hidden in a barn, while he went in search of 
provisions. He was recognised, and accosted, in the 
town, but managed to elude suspicion, and returned 
with a supply of bread, wine, eggs, walnuts, and cheese. 
All that day they travelled without ceasing, and it was 
not till late at night that they halted at a wayside inn, 
where the hostess, who had scarcely any food in the 
house except eggs, undertook to make omelets enough 
for them all. Conde watched her as she set to work, 
and was so fascinated by the process that he insisted 
on making the next omelet himself. All went well till 
the critical moment came for turning it ; when, with 
a confident but unskilled hand, he tossed it upwards, 
and it fell, not into the pan, but into the heart of the 
fire, to the dismay of the hungry spectators. Gourville 
begged the hostess " to entrust no more of their supper 
to this accomplished cook Jl . 1 

1 Gourville, Memoires. 

1652] CONDfi IN DISGUISE 351 

Before daylight they were once more on the road. 
The Prince, as usual in times of strong excitement, 
seemed indefatigable ; while the journey lasted, not 
one of his followers made so little of its hardships. More 
than once he was within an ace of detection ; on the 
fourth day of his travels, as they rode through a village, 
a peasant came up to him and saluted him by name. 
Conde laughed, and the rest of the company began to 
joke over the supposed likeness, till the bewildered 
countryman thought that his eyes must have deceived 
him. 1 Towards evening, on that day, it became evident, 
in the first place, that fresh horses must be found 
without delay ; and, in the second place, that some 
members of the party could travel no farther without 
a full night's rest. Marcillac had suffered most from 
fatigue ; when the order was given to remount, after 
a halt at midday, he was found to be almost uncon- 
scious, and had to be revived with cold water before he 
could be lifted to the saddle. La Rochefoucauld had 
developed an attack of gout, and could not wear a boot ; 
Gourville, with some pride in his own ingenuity, de- 
scribes a kind of cloth gaiter which he improvised for his 
relief. It was decreed, accordingly, that Wednesday 
night should be spent at a small country house, held 
by a retainer of Levis ; " and here ", so it is recorded, 
u these gentlemen slept between sheets for the first time 
since starting ". 2 Chavagnac had meanwhile been de- 
puted to buy horses, and applied to a friend of his own 
in the neighbourhood, who furnished them willingly, and 
even refused payment, when he heard that one was 
destined for M. le Prince. The story of the transaction 
might be taken from some Border ballad ; for this 
same horse, on inspection, was immediately recognised 
as one that had mysteriously disappeared, not long 
since, from La Rochefoucauld's stable. A new peril 
threatened before the end of the evening. Levis had 
not disclosed the true characters of his supposed house- 
hold ; and their host, a plain country gentleman, 
knew his own feudal lord, but had never till now set eyes 
on the Prince. He was so far from suspecting ' La Mothe- 
ville ' of being other than an ordinary member of the 
Marquis's train, that he repeated, at supper, certain 
highly-coloured anecdotes of the House of Conde, and 
especially of Madame de Longueville, which had reached 

1 Gourville, Memoires. 2 Gourville. 

352 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

even that remote district. His guests listened, dis- 
mayed but helpless. Conde was on the verge of losing 
all self-control ; he turned first red, and then white ; 
at last he began to fidget nervously, and his followers 
expected each moment to see him fall on the speaker 
with blows. By desperate efforts they contrived to 
change the subject, just in time ; and the Prince, 
recollecting himself, laughed with the rest. 1 

Thursday brought no special adventure, except to 
Marcillac, who lost control of his horse, and was nearly 
drowned, in crossing a stream. Late in the afternoon 
of Friday, the whole party, tired and travel-stained, 
found themselves at Le Bee d'Allier, on the left bank 
of the Loire, just below the junction of the Loire and 
the Allier. They were now not more than two days' 
journey from Nemours' camp ; but their position had 
never been more dangerous, for both divisions of the 
King's army were on the march, between them and their 
allies ; the first commanded by Turenne, the second by 
the Marquis d'Hocquincourt. The six days that Conde 
had spent on the road from Agen, had been no less full 
of incident in other quarters. The King, with all his 
Court, had left Saumur early in March, on a progress 
along the Loire. He had visited Tours, Azay, Amboise, 
and Blois, and had assured himself of the citizens' 
loyalty. At Blois, the first check awaited him ; news 
came that Orleans, chief of the Loire towns, had been 
seized for the Princes, and that its gates were closed 
to the Royal troops. The taking of Orleans was the 
first feat of arms of ' la Grande Mademoiselle ' . Monsieur, 
urged by his supporters to go in person and secure the 
town, whose citizens looked on him as their liege lord, 
had declined to stir from Paris ; but, half in joke, he 
gave consent to a request that his daughter might take 
his place. Mademoiselle was both able and willing ; she 
set forth light-heartedly, with two or three of her ladies, 
in her coach, attended by a cavalry escort. On March 
27th, she presented herself before the gates of Orleans 
and demanded admittance, which was refused by 
the Governor, on the pretext of his duty to the King. 
Nothing daunted, she pursued her way on foot under 
the walls of the town, signalling to the inhabitants, 
who watched her from the ramparts, and whose sym- 
pathies were entirely with her. She came, at length, 

1 La Rochefoucauld ; Guy Joly ; Chavagnac, Memoires. 


to the river's bank, where the walls were washed by the 
Loire ; and here a deputation of boatmen met her, 
offering to make a bridge of boats, and to force an 
entrance for her through a small door opening on to a 
wharf, which she might reach by a ladder from one 
of the boats. The suggestion was eagerly accepted, 
and promptly carried out. The Princess, followed by 
two terrified ladies-in-waiting, crossed the improvised 
bridge, mounted the ladder, and with a good deal of 
assistance, from within and without, was pushed and 
pulled through the door into the town. From that 
moment her triumph was assured. The citizens con- 
veyed her, laughing and dishevelled, to the Hotel de 
Ville, where she at once assumed complete command 
of the situation ; her own perfect confidence in the 
supremacy given by her rank, was more effectual than 
diplomacy or persuasion could have been . The Governor 
received her directions meekly, and it was agreed that 
the gates of Orleans should be closed against all troops 
save those of the Princes and their allies. 

This momentous decision was arrived at on March 
28th. On the same day, as though to compensate the 
Royalists for their loss, Turenne had been successful in 
a brisk skirmish with a detachment of Beaufort's troops 
under the veteran Sirot, at the bridge of Jargeau. 
Sirot had fallen, mortally wounded, and was carried by 
his soldiers to die at Orleans. Turenne, on the day after 
the fight, escorted the King to Gien, where the Court, 
bereft of Orleans, was to fix its abode ; on April 4th 
he took up his new quarters at Briare, while Hocquin- 
court established himself at Bleneau, on the Loing. 
But already a fresh alarm had reached both Court and 
camp. M. le Prince was no longer opposing Harcourt in 
Guyenne. No one could speak with certainty of his 
movements ; but there were rumours that he had been 
recognised on the road between La Charite and Cosne. 
Scouting-parties had been instantly dispatched south- 
wards ; and the utmost vigilance was ordered on all hands. 

Conde and his followers crossed the Loire at Le 
Bee d'Allier on March 29th ; no easy task, since it 
was known that fords and bridges were strictly watched. 
Levis secured a ferry-boat, but much delay was caused 
by the horses ; they could only make the passage 
swimming, tethered to the stern ; and one, becoming 
restive, so nearly upset the boat that the halter had to 

354 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

be cut, and the animal left to its fate. The travellers 
had no rest that night. Levis, whose passport had 
served its turn, bade farewell to the Prince at this 
point, and turned back to Auvergne. The rest took 
the road to La Charite, intending to pass by the out- 
skirts of the town ; but the guide to whom they trusted 
mistook his way, after dark, and led them up to the 
gates. La Charite was a place especially to be avoided, 
for the Governor was none other than Bussy-Rabutin, 
who had never forgiven Guitaut's promotion, and had 
thrown in his lot with the Court as soon as war was 
declared. Fortunately, as it happened, Bussy was 
just then absent from his post ; but Conde, not knowing 
this, and seeing his companions' anxiety, pretended, 
out of sheer malice, to seek an interview. " Tell M. 
de Bussy ", he called to the guard who challenged 
them, " that La Motheville begs him to come and 
open the gates ! " Gourville, hastily interposing, gave 
out that they were King's officers on their way to join 
the Court : " You may spend the night here, if you 
please ", he added, addressing the Prince in very 
audible tones ; " but for the rest of us, whose leave is up 
to-morrow, there is no time to spare ". " Well, you are 
queer fellows ", answered Conde, still in hearing of the 
guard, " but I suppose we had better go on together. 
My compliments to M. le Gouverneur ! With that, 
they turned away from the gates, and set out along 
the road to Cosne ; all but Gourville, who, by a previous 
arrangement, took the direct road to Paris, bearing 
dispatches for Monsieur. 

M. le Prince was not easy to deal with in this last 
stage of his journey. Excitement and determination 
had sustained him marvellously, but the tension was 
becoming unbearable, and he grew reckless. He would 
not turn aside to avoid the town of Cosne : "It will 
be amusing, some day, to tell how I came by the high 
road, like a courier ", was his only answer to the sug- 

festion. The result was precisely what might have 
een expected. They had scarcely left the town when 
two horsemen were observed coming towards them ; 
Conde 's followers gathered round him and screened 
him from view, but Chavagnac, on the outskirts of the 
group, saw clearly that both he and Guitaut had been 
recognised. " We must kill those men J> , he said. 
Guitaut protested, maintaining that they could not 


have known him, and this more than humane advice 
prevailed ; partly, no doubt, on account of the loss of 
time that a fight would have involved. Chavagnac, 
however, was not mistaken ; the two horsemen were 
messengers from the Court. They not only identified 
Guitaut, but presently waylaid Rochefort, the valet, 
who had overslept himself by the way, and was hurrying 
to join his master. Rochefort, with a pistol at his 
head, confessed that M. le Prince was indeed one of the 
company. The messengers departed to report the alarm 
at headquarters ; but, in their haste, they neglected 
the guarding of their prisoner, and Rochefort escaped 
to overtake the Prince, and to tell him of his danger. 
Such a warning forced even Conde, sorely against his 
will, to leave the highway for a longer and safer route. 
It was said that he vented his anger upon Guitaut, 
who had spared their enemies ; that, as the Count held 
his stirrup, he kicked him, and " wished that he might 
see his head on a scaffold ". Those who waited on 
Princes, in those days, were used to such treatment ; 
Guitaut 's allegiance was unshaken, and his favour only 
eclipsed for an hour. 

Suspicion was now so thoroughly aroused, that 
Conde dared not make too searching inquiries as to 
Nemours' movements. Any peasant or wayfarer whom 
he questioned might be in Mazarin's pay. Failing precise 
information, he decided to continue his way direct to 
Chatillon-sur-Loing, the principal seat of the Coligny 
family, now in the possession of the Duchess Isabelle. 
Here he would be sure of welcome, even though the 
Duchess was not herself in residence ; and Nemours, 
from all accounts, could not be far distant. One of the 
party was therefore dispatched with a message to the 
lodge-keepers, asking that the gates of the walled park 
and vineyards, which surrounded the castle, might 
be left unlocked till their arrival. Half-way between 
Cosne and Chatillon, on April ist, Guitaut and Chavag- 
nac went in search of food and a last relay of horses. 
Conde, La Rochefoucauld, and Marcillac were to await 
them on a side road ; but Royalist soldiers were scouring 
the whole neighbourhood, and various alarms scattered 
the party so effectually, that they only met again within 
the walls of Chatillon. Chavagnac, the first to arrive, 
went out to search for the Prince, and, coming suddenly 
upon him among the vineyards, nearly lost his life ; 

356 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

for Conde, not recognising him at a distance, took 
aim with his musket, and threatened to fire if the 
supposed enemy came a step nearer. He was unde- 
ceived, at length, and came safely to the castle ; but not 
an hour too soon. The gates had scarcely closed behind 
him when Sainte-Maure, a King's officer, appeared at the 
head of thirty horsemen, and was refused admittance ; 
on the ground that, by the Duchess's orders, no soldiers 
of either the King's or the Princes' army were to trespass 
on her domain. 

Conde learnt, at Chatillon, that Nemours' and 
Beaufort's forces were not more than twenty miles 
away ; and forthwith determined to make the journey 
that night. Had he followed the route he intended, 
he must have fallen into a trap ; for Sainte-Maure, 
repulsed from the castle gates, was lying in ambush 
between Chatillon and Lorris. But, by a fortunate 
accident, the Prince and his companions missed their 
way in the darkness ; all night they strayed among 
lanes and fields, and the enemy awaited them in vain. 
Sainte-Maure, either fearing to lose himself, or as 
it was afterwards reported not over-anxious to 
capture M. le Prince in person, made no search. To- 
wards morning the little company, much exhausted, 
were nearing Lorris, when, at a turn of the road, a 
cavalry patrol was sighted, so near that flight was 
already impossible. No course remained but to ride 
forward and challenge boldly ; the light was still dim, 
and they might chance to escape recognition : ' Qui 
vive ? ' cried Conde, as they came within hail. The 
answer was a shout of joy : " Vive vous-meme, Mon- 
seigneur ! " for the patrol was from his own regiment 
of ' Conde -cavalerie ', now serving with Nemours. 1 
M. le Prince was conducted in triumph to the camp of 
Lorris, not a mile away, and was there received with 
unspeakable relief and astonishment by all ranks of the 
army. Nemours showed no jealousy ; he was thankful 
to be spared a task for which he had neither the energy 
nor the experience, and no one was more ready than he 
to welcome the Prince. Beaufort, who exercised a 
separate command, as Monsieur's General, and Clinchamp, 
in charge of the Spanish contingent, both yielded to the 
same unquestioned authority. Mademoiselle, waiting 
at Orleans for her father's orders, heard rumours of 

1 Tavannes, Memoires. 


Conde's arrival, and, as she says, " thought the news 
could not be true, it was so much in accordance with 
her wishes ". She was convinced by Guitaut, who 
brought a letter from the Prince, full of ardent pro- 
testations of gratitude, and compliments on her late 
valiant exploit. ' C'est un coup qui n'appartient qu'a 
vous ', he assured her ; the letter is proudly trans- 
scribed, word for word, in her Memoirs. 

Conde gave himself and his followers scarcely a day 
to recover from the fatigues of their journey. Hitherto 
all operations had been delayed while Nemours and 

Chateau- Re 



* 1 

i Chatillon-sur Loing 


Beaufort quarrelled publicly, and even came to blows, 
over the question whether their next advance should be 
on Blois or on Montargis. M. le Prince had not been 
twelve hours in camp before it was decided that Mon- 
targis must at once be secured as a base of supplies. 
The army marched to the attack on the following day 
(April 3rd). The Prince, arriving before the gates, 
took out his watch, made a note of the exact time, and 
sent word to the authorities that if the town had not 
surrendered within an hour, he proposed to carry it 
by assault. The Governor yielded promptly to this 

358 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

threat, and it was said ever afterwards, that " M. le 
Prince had taken Montargis with his watch n . 1 Early 
on April 6th, Conde marched to Chateau- Renard, a 
fortified town about twenty miles north of Bleneau. 
The total strength of the ' army of the Princes ', in- 
cluding Beaufort's and Clinchamp's forces, was estimated 
at close on fifteen thousand men. The Royalist army 
numbered between twelve and thirteen thousand ; and 
in addition to this numerical disadvantage, ten miles of 
rough country separated Turenne, at Briare, from 
Hocquincourt, whose troops were disposed in the space 
between Bleneau, Breteau, and Rogny. The season 
was still so early that forage was scarce, and it would 
have been impossible for the whole army to camp to- 
gether for any length of time. 2 

Up to April 7th, neither Turenne nor Hocquin- 
court had any suspicion that Conde was actually at the 
head of the rebel troops. The news of his sudden 
appearance on the road from La Charite had been 
succeeded by the rumour that he had turned aside, on 
finding himself recognised, and was on his way to levy 
forces in Burgundy. Hocquincourt believed firmly that 
he had to deal only with such Generals as Nemours and 
Beaufort. He disregarded Turenne 's advice, and left 
the camp at Bleneau inadequately guarded, trusting 
for protection to the watercourses that enclosed it 
on two sides of a triangle ; the river Loing, and the 
canal of Briare. To the south, this triangle was almost 
completed by the Treze*e, a small tributary of the Loire. 
Turenne, finding him proof against warnings, 3 suggested 
to him to fall back upon Briare, that they might join 
forces for the moment, and to this scheme Hocquincourt 
consented ; but too late. He had agreed to leave 
Bleneau on April 7th ; and on the 6th, Conde, arriving 
at Chateau-Renard, was told of this intention by a 
countryman who had been acting as spy. In an instant 
the Prince had taken his resolve. He would attack 
Hocquincourt, and cut him off from Turenne, within 
the next twelve hours ; then, turning westwards, he 
would be free to deal separately with his great adversary 
at Briare. No one acknowledged more sincerely than 

1 Mademoiselle de Montpensier, M&moires. 

2 " II n'y avoit pas moyen de subsister ensemble a cause du fourrage " 
(Turenne, Mtmoires). 

3 MS. Memoirs of Fremond d'Ablancourt, quoted by Ramsay. 


Conde the genius of Turenne ; even at this crisis, the 
political importance of the coming struggle was not more 
present with him than the professional excitement of 
measuring himself against such an enemy. And if 
Conde set full value on Turenne 's boundless forethought 
and resourcefulness, Turenne, on his side, appreciated 
no less the inspired qualities of M. le Prince in action ; 
the incomparable ' fierte dans le combat ' of which St. 
fivremond speaks. 1 The events of April 6th and 7th, 
foreshadow, in brief, Turenne 's tactics throughout the 
six years of warfare that began at Bleneau, and ended 
on Dunkirk dunes. No man could fight like M. le Prince ; 
therefore, Turenne reasoned, his enemies' first general 
principle must be to give him no opportunity of fighting. 
The attack on Hocquincourt's lines was to be made 
at night, and the first point to be gained was Rogny, 
a small town on a height, overlooking the junction of 
the canal of Briare with the Loing. Rogny was 
occupied by a detachment of German mercenaries 
on outpost duty under a French officer, La Lautiere. 
The Prince, riding with the cavalry of his advance 
guard, sent Chavagnac to parley at the gates, and to 
represent their force as being on the way to join Turenne. 
Meanwhile, Nemours forded the river, and the dragoons 
found their post surrounded, before they had realised 
the fact of the enemy's presence ; La Lautiere sur- 
rendered, after so little resistance that he was accused, 
though not positively convicted, of an understanding 
with the Princes' party. Once across the river, Conde 's 
leading squadrons, guided by the light of camp fires, 
fell on the Royalist quarters like the wolf on the fold. 
Four encampments were surprised and scattered, in 
rapid succession ; the men who escaped fled into the 
surrounding woods, but numbers were killed, and 
many more taken prisoners. In the darkness and con- 
fusion, the officers of the attacking force found it hard 
to maintain order ; their troops burnt and pillaged 
freely, and were much dispersed when Conde, crossing 
the river Trezee, reached Breteau, where he found the 
enemy's baggage left at his mercy. Some of his chief 
officers had small experience of discipline, and were 
more bent on keeping near their leader than on con- 
trolling their forces. Nemours, Beaufort, La Roche- 
foucauld, Tavannes, Guitaut, and young Marcillac 

1 Parallele entre M. le Prince et le Vicomte de Turenne. 

360 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

were among those who followed him closely. This 
elect company, heading the squadrons of ' Meille ' 
and l Persan ', had not long reached Breteau, when 
they learnt that the Royalists were assembling to make 
a stand on the right bank of the Trezee. Hocquin- 
court's headquarters were on this bank, less than a 
mile away ; roused by the noise of the attack, he called 
up the squadrons nearest at hand, and placed himself 
at their head ; at the same time sending orders to 
the infantry nearer Bleneau to come up as quickly as 
possible. There was no moon, but he marched, as 
nearly as could be judged, in the direction of the firing, 
Eight hundred horsemen were all that he had mus- 
tered ; and he hesitated, at first, to engage what he 
supposed to be the whole army of the Princes. Draw- 
ing up his men on the outskirts of the villages, he 
awaited any sign or sound which might give him a 
clue to his enemy's strength. He was not long left 
in doubt ; for Conde, knowing him at hand, faced 
about, and recrossed the Trezee to meet him. The 
passage of the stream would have been a hard task, 
even by day ; the banks were high and steep, and the 
only bridge insecure and very narrow. Certain young 
officers, impatient of the delay, gave a reckless order 
for the firing of a thatched cottage on the bank, that 
they might have light to go forward ; the roof blazed 
fiercely, and illuminated the whole scene, throwing the 
principal figures into strong relief. Hocquincourt, 
from his post, could observe each man, as the troops 
crossed the bridge in single file ; he saw, with amaze- 
ment, that M. le Prince had appeared, as if by a miracle, 
to take command ; but he also judged rightly that 
Conde 's strength at that moment was greatly inferior 
to his own. The Prince, with the group of officers 
who -attended him, was already on the right bank, 
and the horsemen of ( Meille ' and ' Persan ' had 
followed, when Hocquincourt advanced to the attack, 
along an open way, wide enough for a squadron in 
order of battle. Conde heard, rather than saw, the 
enemy's approach ; he formed his squadrons, and 
led them in person. The two forces clashed together 
in the darkness ; Conde, heavily outnumbered, was at 
first repulsed, and his cavalry retreated some hundred 
yards in disorder. Nemours, w r ounded by a pistol- 
shot, was withdrawn from the fight by some of his 

1652] A NEW ATTACK 361 

own followers. But all the while, the Princes' troops 
had been reassembling, and the single file of horsemen 
had never ceased its slow and steady progress across 
the Trezee. Conde rallied his men, by dint of great 
efforts ; then leaving Beaufort to renew the attack in 
front, he placed himself at the head of a fresh squadron, 
newly arrived on the right bank and attacked at the 
same time in flank. " M. le Prince ",- says Tavannes, 
who rode by his side, " charged three times, with that 
vigour which was so natural to him " ; and at the third 
onslaught the Royalists broke their ranks and fled ; 
some towards Bleneau, some towards Auxerre. Their 
infantry, advancing to the scene of action, met with 
the fugitives, and, hearing of the defeat, retreated 
to safety within the walls of Bleneau. 

It was not till two hours later, at dawn, that 
the Prince's army could realise how completely the 
Royalists had abandoned the field. Chavagnac, 
ordered in pursuit, had followed the enemy for some 
miles towards Auxerre, but the darkness prevented 
him from pressing them closely. Conde was tempted, 
at first, to dispose entirely of Hocquincourt's force, 
by attacking the infantry in Bleneau ; they were old 
regiments, he said, and might give trouble if they were 
left in their present position. Tavannes was told off 
with a detachment, for the purpose ; but the order 
had scarcely been issued, when all minor operations 
were cut short by the news that Turenne was marching 
from Briare, and had been sighted between Ouzouer 
and Breteau. The Prince gathered his forces, and 
prepared for action. His infantry had come up, after 
marching all night from Montargis. Some of his 
cavalry were still dispersed in the pursuit across 
country ; and all were more or less tired by the night's 
work. Still, his numbers more than doubled those 
of Turenne, and he retraced his steps towards Breteau 
with high hopes of success ; tempered only by the 
certainty that the Marshal was not lightly to be taken 
at a disadvantage. 

Turenne had visited Hocquincourt at Bleneau, 
and, though seldom given to interference, had sug- 
gested that the camp might be considered open to 
attack. This interview took place on April 6th, and 
on the same day Turenne returned to Briare. That 
evening a scouting-party brought word that the 

362 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

enemy's advance-guard was marching on Bleneau ; 
Conde's arrival had not been discovered, and their 
leader was supposed to be Nemours. Turenne set 
forth immediately, at the head of his infantry, to 
support Hocquincourt ; sending word to Navailles, 
his Lieut enant-General, to bring up the cavalry to 
join him, from their quarters in two or three neigh- 
bouring villages. As he rode through the darkness 
towards Breteau a red glare lit up the sky above Hocquin- 
court 's camp, and a distant sound of musketry was 
heard. Turenne was ever a man of few words. He 
knew Conde ; he knew Nemours ; and he saw that 
the attack had been directed with unerring judgment 
both as to time and place. Therefore, wasting no 
breath in expressions of surprise, he pointed to where 
the light glowed, and stated, in tones of absolute con- 
viction : " M. le Prince has come ! " Yet this fact 
caused him, by his own admission, greater and more 
complicated anxiety than he had ever known. When 
he spoke afterwards of the experience, his natural 
reserve for once gave way, and he described his feel- 
ings with perfect frankness and simplicity. " Never/' he 
said, " were so many dreadful possibilities presented 
to the mind of one man. I had only lately been recon- 
ciled to the Court, and been given command of the 
force on which its safety depended. All such promo- 
tion gives rise to envy and enmity ; and I had enemies 
who accused me perpetually of being still in league with 
M. le Prince. The Cardinal had not, so far, believed 
them ; but he might have done so, if I had met with 
any disaster. Moreover, I knew that M. d' Hocquin- 
court would assuredly say that I had exposed him 
to attack, and then failed to support him. Such 
thoughts, in themselves, were sufficiently distressing ; 
but worse than all was the certainty that M. le Prince 
was approaching with a superior force, and with all 
the confidence given by his late success." l 

The consciousness of accusations unjustly levelled 
against him, helped to influence the Marshal's decision. 
His officers urged him to give up all idea of meeting 
the Prince, and to retreat upon Gien ; but he knew 
too well what interpretation would be put upon such 
a course, and only sheer desperation would have driven 
him to it. There must be no question of a pitched 
1 St. fivremond, filoge de M. de Turenne. 


battle ; all that could be attempted was to bar the 
way against Conde's triumphant advance upon Gien, 
and to this end Turenne 's whole energy was directed. 
He rode forward ' fortement occupe en lui-meme ', to 
quote the Chevalier Ramsay ; answering no one, but 
giving orders, from time to time, for the execution of 
his plan of action. The country between Briare and 
Bleneau was not new to him ; he had traversed the 
distance twice within the past twenty-four hours, 
and had taken note of the position he now meant to 
occupy. To gain it, he was obliged to pursue his march 
perilously near the Prince's army ; but the darkness 
favoured him, and by sunrise his design was, so far, 
accomplished. His troops had reached a large tract 
of open ground about a mile south of Breteau ; before 
them there stretched, on the right hand, a wood, and 
on the left, a sheet of water surrounded by bogs. The 
only approach left open, from the front, was by the 
narrow road, or defile, which separated the wood from 
the marsh. A battery of eight guns, posted on rising 
ground, and masked by trees and bushes, commanded 
this defile ; while the main body of cavalry, under 
Navailles, was ready to attack the enemy emerging 
from it in flank. The infantry battalions were 
stationed, some on the outskirts of the wood, some in 
the clearings within it. At daybreak, Turenne, un- 
certain of the enemy's exact movements, advanced at 
the head of six squadrons through the defile and was 
met by the sight of Conde's approaching force, little 
more than a mile away. Fearing to become involved in 
a general action, the Marshal hastily repassed the defile, 
and held his troops in readiness at some distance be- 
hind the wood, but not far enough to leave space for 
the Prince to deploy his forces in the plain. 

This manoeuvre was duly noted by Conde ; who, 
marching from Bleneau, had happened to be reconnoit- 
ring just as the Royalist squadrons reached the farthest 
point of their advance. He burned with impatience as 
he saw them exposed to attack at the mouth of the 
defile. " If M. de Turenne stays where he is ", he said to 
Tavannes, " I shall cut him to pieces. But he knows 
better than to stay ". 1 Even as he spoke the Royalists 
were seen to withdraw into the defile ; while their 
infantry retreated from the wood, to rejoin the troops 

1 Tavannes, M&moires. 

364 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

drawn up in the plain. Conde advanced to the near 
edge of the wood, and there halted, baffled by the im- 
possibility of deploying his force. After a brief delay, 
Turenne determined on a fresh manoeuvre ; partly in the 
fear that the Prince might have found scope for a turning 
movement ; partly in the hope of inflicting some definite 
loss, by enticing him into the defile. Navailles' cavalry 
was ordered to fall back, as though beginning a general 
retreat. Turenne had not counted in vain on Conde 's 
dread of an enemy escaping him. The Prince awaited 
no further development ; the sight of the Royalist 
forces, apparently passing beyond his reach, was enough. 
In his haste to overtake them he, in turn, ordered his 
cavalry into the defile, which was now clear of troops. 
As the first squadrons emerged into the open, Navailles 
faced about, and advanced towards them at a brisk 
pace, though without charging ; and, at the same 
moment, the artillery opened fire with deadly effect. 
Conde, seeing his horsemen driven back in disorder 
through the defile, sent hurried orders to recall them, 
and to check the advance of the rest. 

The situation had now resolved itself into a dead- 
lock ; for the Prince hesitated to expose his troops to be 
mown down by the enemy's guns, before they could 
deploy on the plain. He knew little of the surrounding 
country, save that it was covered with wood and marsh ; 
and, since no guide was forthcoming, a turning move- 
ment must have occupied many hours, and given 
Turenne ample time to withdraw his forces. On the 
other hand, the Marshal was prevented from following 
up any advantage by the fear of provoking a general 
action. Neither army stirred ; but the Royalists main- 
tained their fire, which, directed from a height, inflicted 
considerable damage. Conde's heavy artillery had been 
left, with the baggage, at Montargis, for greater con- 
venience on the night march ; so that, in this respect, 
his strength was inferior to that of Turenne. To oppose 
the enemy's battery commanding the defile, he had only 
two light guns ; these were posted at the near end of 
the defile, and continued for some time in action, but 
without much appreciable result. All day passed in this 
unequal contest ; till, towards evening, the Royalists 
were reinforced by Hocquincourt, who had rallied the 
greater part of his force, and came up by a circuitous 
route. Bouillon also advanced from Gien, with every 


man that could be spared from guarding the King's 
person. Still, Turenne persisted in his determination 
to avoid anything in the nature of a pitched battle ; 
the consequences of defeat would have been too serious. 
At sunset both he and Hocquincourt withdrew towards 
Briare ; their retreat covered by the artillery, and by a 
stretch of rising ground. 

Conde, baulked of his victory, was left in possession 
of the field ; in this case, a barren honour. His troops 
were in no condition to follow the retreating enemy ; 
they were worn out with their past efforts, and much 
encumbered by the spoils of war ; he himself so his 
followers declared had been thirty-six hours on horse- 
back. As he advanced on to the plain he caught sight, 
in the distance, of Hocquincourt, whose cavalry was 
falling in to form a rear-guard. The Marquis was an old 
acquaintance ; and Conde sent word that he would be 
glad to speak with him, and would promise him safe 
conduct. Hocquincourt came, willingly enough, and 
the meeting was of a most friendly character. The 
Prince laughed at him for his flight, and made amends 
by compliments ; l saying, as they parted : " What a 
pity that honest men like us should be cutting each 
other's throats for the sake of a lackey like Mazarin ! " 
Such, at least, was the popular version of the interview, 
and there is no reason to disbelieve it. -It had not 
escaped Conde's notice that Hocquincourt complained 
freely, though without cause, of Turenne 's treatment of 
him ; and his subsequent defection from the Royal 
cause was probably no matter for surprise. 

The Prince's army camped that night at La Brulerie, 
on the borders of the canal ; and marched, next day, 
to Chatillon. Conde wrote a detailed account of the 
action at Bleneau to Mademoiselle, who was gratified 
beyond measure by the confidence with which he 
treated her. The frondeurs were loudly proclaiming a 
victory over ' les Mazarins ', and were, in a sense, 
justified. M. le Prince had routed one half of the 
King's or the Cardinal's forces, and the other half 
had retreated before him. He had despoiled Hocquin- 
court 's camp, and had taken over a thousand prisoners ; 
all of whom, untroubled by personal politics, were at 
once enrolled in the rebel army. But, if success were 
to be measured by practical effects, the chief honours of 

1 La Rochefoucauld, Memoires. 

366 BLfiNEAU [CHAP, xvi 

the day undoubtedly lay with Turenne ; who, on his 
return to Gien (April 8th) was deservedly hailed as the 
protector of the Court. The Queen thanked him 
publicly for his services ; and, in a transport of relief, 
declared that ' his hand had crowned the King a second 
time '. Conde himself helped to complete this im- 
pression, by a blunder so flagrant, and so little in accord- 
ance with his nature, as to suggest to his enemies a 
supernatural intervention on their behalf : Quern Jupiter 
vutt perdere, dementat prius. Gourville, returning from 
his errand, brought letters from many who called 
themselves the Prince's friends, and who now urged on 
him the necessity of his presence in Paris. Chavigny 
was perhaps the most insistent ; he represented forcibly 
the growing influence of Retz over Monsieur, and the 
general neglect of the interests of the House of Conde, 
in the absence of M. le Prince and of all members of his 
family. Conde, exhausted by six months' arduous 
campaigning, and above all, by the desperate strain of 
the past fortnight, felt that politics might, for once, be 
more profitable than warfare ; and allowed himself 
to be convinced. Like most self-willed persons, he 
yielded when he yielded at all at the wrong time 
and in the wrong way. He left the army at twent}*-- 
four hours' notice, apparently without consulting any 
of his more cautious advisers. One danger, at least, 
was averted, since Nemours and Beaufort were not 
left in command. Nemours, incapacitated by his 
wound, was at the castle of Chatillon, where he had 
been joined by his devoted and long-suffering wife, 
bringing with her a train of doctors from Paris. Beau- 
fort had decided to accompany the Prince and La 
Rochefaucauld, who set out from Montargis on April pth. 
Tavannes and Clinchamp were to replace Conde, to the 
best of their ability. Clinchamp was an experienced 
officer, but had never before held so important a com- 
mand ; Tavannes had zeal and courage, with only 
moderate capacity ; neither was in the smallest degree 
fitted to cope with Turenne. Yet it was to them that 
the direction of the campaign, at such a critical moment, 
was entrusted ; while Conde, who alone of all his party 
might have won success in the field, flung himself once 
more into the ' abyss of negotiations ' spoken of by La 
Rochefoucauld ; "that abyss of which no one has ever 
yet sounded all the depths ". 


1652 (Continued) 

WHILE Turenne, at Gien, was the hero of the hour, 
Conde, in Paris, was still more loudly acclaimed. The 
inhabitants came out to meet him with music and every 
sign of rejoicing. Loret's untiring ' Historic Muse ' 
depicts the scene : 

" Avant d'y faire entree 
Son Altesse fut recontree 
Par des femmes portant lauriers 
A cette fleur des grands guerriers. 
Chacun courait de place en place, 
Ann d'envisager sa face. 
Le Mazarin fut fort fronde, 
Et Ton cria, ' Vive Conde ! ' 

The enthusiasm was heightened when the Prince, on the 
day of his entry, drove through the streets scattering 
gold pieces among the crowd. No one knew better 
than he that Bleneau was, at the best, a qualified 
triumph ; but, fatigued as he was by his late exertions, 
and demoralised by his new role as a rebel, he was in a 
mood to be gratified by any form of public applause. 

Paris, with the King beyond the walls, and Monsieur 
as the nominal head of affairs within them, had fallen 
into a state bordering on anarchy. Retz, in Condi's 
absence, was the strongest personality among the leaders 
of the Princes' party ; and he, as it happened, was 
opposed to peace, believing that dissensions would 
better serve his own ends. Monsieur was in his power, 
and seemed likely to remain so ; more especially as the 
Coadjutor's ecclesiastical position had lately undergone 
a change. His promotion, two months earlier, to the 
rank of Cardinal, had fulfilled a cherished ambition ; 
but, like some other ambitions, it was no sooner realised 



than its disadvantages became apparent. As Cardinal, 
he must maintain some degree of dignity ; he could 
not, with any decency, go on foot through the streets, 
and mingle with seditious rioters. Deprived of this 
source of power, he resolved, at all costs, to keep his 
hold over Monsieur, and, using him as a tool, to play a 
prominent part in the -negotiations which he foresaw 
between the Court and the Princes. He dreaded 
nothing so much as that an alliance between Conde 
and Monsieur should make both independent of his 
support ; and, by his own confession, he deliberately 
set himself to ' diminish the credit of M. le Prince ' by 
every means in his power. Conde 's line of action gave 
ample opportunity to his enemies ; he took no steps 
to restore law and order, and he allowed notorious 
leaders of sedition to frequent his ante-rooms. Dis- 
turbances of every kind continued after his return, 
and were diligently attributed by Retz to his influence ; 
officials were attacked in the streets and denounced 
as ' Mazarins ' ; one public office was stormed and 
plundered. The rioters never failed to declare that 
they were acting at the instigation of the Princes ; 
Conde and Gaston as regularly denied the charge ; but, 
since they never attempted to prevent a repetition of the 
offence, their words carried no conviction. Retz, by 
his own account, privately believed Conde innocent of 
actually stirring up sedition ; but was none the less 
ready to make full use of any circumstance which was 
likely to tell against him. " Monsieur ", he says, " was 
timid, and feared the anger of the people if he repressed 
these brawlers too vigorously. M. le Prince, who feared 
nothing, did not consider the unfavourable effect pro- 
duced by these riots in the minds of those who were 
alarmed by them ". 1 Nor was the Prince warned, as 
he might have been, by the tone of the innumerable 
pamphlets which were published against him within 
a few weeks of his arrival in Paris, and which showed 
plainly that his popularity had been no more lasting 
than on former occasions. Retz himself was the 
author of more than one such attack ; but while he 
records with pride that his pamphlet on Chavigny 
reduced its victim to tears of anger, he admits that the 
only feeling he could arouse in M. le Prince was one of 
amused interest. Marigny, the Prince's secretary, saw 
1 Retz, Memoires. 


him, one day, absorbed in Le Vrai et le Faux du Prince de 
Conde et du Cardinal de Rets, a composition in which the 
Cardinal had put forth all his powers ; and ventured to 
observe that " this must be some great work, since it 
gave His Highness so much entertainment ". " It does 
please me, indeed ", answered Conde. ' I am learning 
all my faults, of which none of you have ever dared to 
tell me". 1 

The Prince, might, from long habit, succeed in turning 
a deaf ear to attacks on his private character ; but he 
could never find satisfaction in the thought of his own 
disloyalty to the King ; and any public allusion to it 
might always chance to touch a sensitive spot. When 
he presented himself in Parliament on April i2th, and 
again on the 23rd, he stood ashamed and silent before 
the Presidents Bailleul and Amelot, who upbraided him 
for receiving pay from Spain, for levying troops against 
the Crown, and for appearing in the Palais de Justice 
11 when his hands were red with the blood of the King's 
subjects ". The majority of the counsellors were 
by no means friendly to Conde, although hatred of 
Mazarin withheld them from giving vent to their feel- 
lings, and caused some protest among them against 
Bailleul's utterance. The same feeling prompted general 
indignation when, towards the end of April, it became 
known that Rohan, Chavigny, and Goulas had been 
dispatched by the Princes to the Court on a mission 
of peace. " I believe it will come to nothing ", said 
Monsieur to Retz, who tried to restrain him, " but what 
would you have ? Everyone is treating about something, 
and I cannot be the only one left out ". 2 Against such 
an argument even Retz could not prevail, and the 
negotiations pursued their course, one intrigue within 
another. Communication was made easy by the 
removal of the Court to St. Germain ; a measure sug- 
gested by the King's advisers in the hope that his 
presence might bring the Parisians to a better mind. 
Turenne's army was encamped at Arpajon, fifteen miles 
south of Paris ; thus protecting the Court from Tavannes, 
who had taken up his quarters at Etampes. 

Certain partisans of Conde have done their best to 
prove that he entered on these dealings in all good faith, 
and that he was sincerely anxious for peace. Inasmuch 
as he disliked the consciousness of being a rebel, this 

1 Retz, Memoires. z Ibid. 



view may possibly be correct ; but it cannot be 
denied that his demands for himself, and for his friends, 
were exorbitant, or that he showed little readiness to 
meet his opponents half-way. Gourville, who was 
beyond question in a position to judge, declares that 
" one party had only to propose any condition, for the 
other to find objections to it " ; 1 and, even had the 
Prince's goodwill been far greater than it was, he would 
still have been held fast by his obligations to Spain. 
Retz was spared the humiliation of seeing an important 
transaction carried through without his help ; Chavigny 
and his companions returned, as Monsieur had prophesied, 
unsuccessful. The next embassy to St. Germain was of 
a less conventional kind. Madame de Chatillon had 
seized the occasion for a supreme assertion of her 
influence. Her wishes had, from the first, been on the 
side of conciliation ; in opposition to those of Madame de 
Longiieville, who had steadily promoted war. Both in 
public and private life the two women had long been rivals; 
and for a time Madame de Longueville was victorious. 
Conde had plunged into a civil war ; while Nemours 

" ce grand Due de Nemours, 
D'une fa?on subtile, 
D'un coeur rempli d'amour " 

had allowed himself to be won over to her and to her 
cause. But now, while the affairs of the party detained 
her at Bordeaux, her power waned ; Nemours' duty 
with the Princes' troops recalled him to Paris, where he 
fell, once more, under the charm that had enslaved him 
before. Not content with this private vengeance, the 
Duchess Isabelle pursued her triumph by establishing 
herself as the mediatrix between M. le Prince and the 
Court ; she was bent on outshining Madame de Longue- 
ville in political importance, and undertook the task 
with the utmost confidence. Her relations with Conde 
were a matter of common knowledge ; that he should 
admit her to his councils, and hold them, with his allies, 
at her house, excited no surprise ; but that she should 
appear as his official representative at Court, bearing a 
blank treaty with his signature, was an unlooked-for 
and scandalous tribute to her ascendancy over him. 
Gifted as she was, the situation was beyond her control. 
Mazarin's chief object in negotiating was to gain time. 

1 Gourville, Memoires. 


He was convinced that the Princes' party must ulti- 
mately be dissolved by faction ; and, while it suited his 
purpose to keep the Duchess occupied with elaborate 
preliminaries, he had no intention of conceding any 
important point. He was ably seconded by one of the 
most accomplished intriguers of the time ; the Abbe 
Fouquet, 1 who contrived to be so much in the confidence 
of both parties that although for many years he posed 
as the confidential adviser of Madame de Chatillon, he 
has also been spoken of as Mazarin's ' Eminence grise '. 
The crowning glory of a return from St. Germain with 
the concluded treaty was denied to the Duchess ; she 
accomplished little more than her predecessors ; but, as 
may be seen in her correspondence with Lenet, and with 
others, months passed before she relinquished her hopes. 

The fact that peace negotiations were in progress 
did not affect the active continuation of the war. 
Mazarin's hand was strengthened by Turenne's success 
against the army of the Princes at fitampes (May 4th) . 
1 Madame de Chatillon ", as Retz maliciously observes, 
:< was received at St. Germain as though she had 
been Minerva in person " ; the only difference, he 
adds, was that Minerva would presumably have fore- 
seen the reverse which took place a few days later. 
Tavannes and Valon had relaxed their watchfulness, 
to do honour to Mademoiselle, who passed through 
the camp on her way from Orleans to Paris. While 
the Princess was being greeted, with many picturesque 
ceremonies, on the slopes beyond the town, Turenne 
made use of the opportunity to attack an outlying 
force, which he cut to pieces. Mademoiselle was 
forced to continue her journey in haste. Tavannes 
retired with his forces into fitampes, and there found 
himself surrounded by the enemy ; cut off from Paris, 
and also from the Spanish reinforcements, which were 
daily expected from the northern frontier. Conde 
saw, too late, how little he could rely on the substitutes 
he had chosen. Tavannes was held fast in fitampes ; 
the provinces were drained of troops, to the last man ; 
and the Prince found himself, for the moment, with 
absolutely no force at his disposal, in case of emergency. 
As a last resource, he determined to try the mettle of 
the ' milices bourgeoises ', the citizen soldiers whose 
exploits had caused him so much amusement in the 

1 Basile Fouquet, brother of Nicholas Fouquet, finance minister. 


siege of Paris. The occasion was soon provided, when, 
early on the morning of May loth, an alarm was spread 
that a Royalist force was marching on St. Cloud. 
Conde and Beaufort set out to ascertain the truth of the 
report, and found half the population under arms, 
clamouring to be allowed to follow them. Beaufort, 
true to his character, cried out : " Qui m'aime me suive ", 
and summoned each and all to " denicher les Mazarins ". 
Conde, eyeing his recruits with more suspicion, told 
them that they might come or stay, as they chose ; 
u only ", he added, " I would rather take none but 
bachelors ; for if I take married men, and if some of 
them never come back, their wives will make too much 
noise ". l Notwithstanding this warning, some thou- 
sands of the citizens declared themselves willing to face 
all risks. Conde superintended the marshalling of the 
battalions, and placed himself at their head, surrounded 
by a bodyguard of nearly all the nobles in Paris. Before 
they reached St. Cloud, it was discovered that the 
rumoured advance had been no more than a feint, and 
that the Royalists were already retiring ; but the 
Prince, unwilling to waste so much warlike enthusiasm 
merely changed the direction of his march and announced 
his intention of making a night attack on St. Denis, 
which was held by a Swiss garrison for the King. 

The preliminaries were observed in due order. At 
eleven o'clock at night, Conde 's messenger appeared 
before the gates of St. Denis, and summoned Dumont, 
the officer in command of the garrison, to surrender. 
Dumont refused ; his force was small, and the place 
was indifferently fortified ; but he had resolved that 
the Abbey of St. Denis should serve him as a citadel, 
and here he hoped to hold out until further instructions 
should reach him from Turenne or from the King. 
Conde advanced to the attack, and had reached the 
edge of the moat, when the first shots were fired from 
the walls. The result was disastrous ; the Prince 
afterwards admitted that he had never in his life seen 
any panic so sudden, or so complete, as that which 
seized his citizen army at the sound of the cannon ; 
and not the citizens only, but, shameful to relate, a 
large proportion of the gentlemen of his bodyguard. 
Only La Rochefoucauld, Marcillac, Guitaut, and a 
few others stayed beside him, and helped to check 
1 Conrart, Memoires. 


the rout. The garrison was too small either to keep 
up a heavy fire, or to defend all the points where the 
fortifications were in bad repair. Conde re-formed his 
battalions, and led the foremost across the moat 
the water, in some places was not more than knee- 
deep and through a breach in the wall. Those in 
the rear were encouraged, by the sight, to follow ; 
and, last of all, came the fugitives of the Prince's body- 
guard, each one alleging some particular reason for 
having left him. 1 Dumont, after offering slight re- 
sistance in the streets of the town, withdrew into the 
Abbey precincts, and prepared to make a stubborn 
defence, to the dismay of the religious community, 
who saw their buildings threatened with plunder and 
desolation, and who implored him to surrender, before 
the Prince should carry out his expressed intention 
of lighting faggots under the walls. The sub-prior, 
finding these entreaties vain, asked leave to seek an 
interview with Conde himself, hoping to gain a respite, if 
nothing more. 2 Dumont consented; and the sub-prior, 
summoning all his courage, sallied out by a side door. He 
was no sooner recognised than Guitaut and another young 
officer, the Comte de Fonville, took hold of him by the 
hands and led him to where the Prince, on a white horse, 
was directing operations at the head of a neighbouring 
street. Guitaut and his companion did their best to 
protect their charge, but small discipline was observed ; 
the men pulled his monastic habit, and made game 
of him as he passed. Conde saluted * with his hand 
to his hat ', as they approached him ; but his words 
were not reassuring. He knew that the more merciless 
he appeared, the more eagerly the monks would press 
for a surrender. " Mon pere ", he said, " I am sorry 
that Dumont should oblige me to take your monastery 
by force ; for it follows that you must be either burned 
or plundered, and then everyone will say that I am a 
monster ". The sub-prior, terrified and indignant, 
began by complaining of the treatment he had received. 
" Show me anyone who struck you, and he shall die ", 
answered the Prince ; but the good father was not 

1 La Rochefoucauld, Memoir es. 

2 For the account of the sub-prior's mission, and of Conde's dealings 
with the community, see Extvait du livre des choses Memorables de St. Denis, 
published with the Extraits des Registres de I'Hotel de Ville, by the SocietS 
de 1'Histoire de France. 


eager for vengeance. He contented himself with 
asking that the attack might be deferred until a messenger 
already dispatched to St. Germain, should return with 
the King's orders ; it was probable that His Majesty 
would send word to Dumont to surrender, and there 
would then be no need for further violence. The 
request was made under difficulties ; for, according 
to the monk's narrative, " the Prince's horse pawed 
the air continually with its fore-feet, so that no one 
could approach". The rider was equally impatient; 
he would hear of no conditions, and swore, with many 
oaths, that, in a quarter of an hour, if the garrison had 
not surrendered, the whole building should be set alight. 
The sub-prior hastened back, and renewed his per- 
suasions to Dumont. Conde waited without, fuming 
over the delay, and ordering faggots to be brought ; 
from the windows of the Abbey the monks watched 
him riding up and down, with a torch-bearer on either 
side ; and the sight added new fervour to their petitions. 
Dumont gave way at length, feeling his position to be 
hopeless ; he yielded himself and his garrison prisoners 
of war, only stipulating that the officers might be 
released on parole, and that their exchange might be 
effected as soon as possible. 

It was four o'clock in the morning before the last of 
the garrison marched out of the Abbey, and Conde, at 
the Abbot's invitation, consented to come in and 
refresh himself. When all excitement was past, he 
became acutely conscious of having neither eaten nor 
rested for close on twenty-four hours ; he could 
scarcely stand, on dismounting, and the sub-prior, 
who had so lately trembled before him, supported him 
into the refectory and sent for food. The rule of the 
community forbade meat, but the monks, with some 
apology, proffered eggs and fruit : ' Je vous en prie ', 
answered the Prince ; and fell to on the nearest pro- 
visions ; his hosts, who noted his every movement, 
record that he ate a large piece of bread, and a ' bon 
chretien ' pear ; and that when two boiled eggs were 
brought, he took one, and gave the other to La 
Rochefoucauld. All the officers were famished ; an 
omelet, prepared for M. le Prince, was intercepted 
and devoured by them before it reached the table. 
Conde, having finished his meal, thanked the sub-prior 
graciously, bade him farewell, and rode back to Paris ; 


leaving a promise that the Abbey should be safe from 
his troops thenceforward. 

As a military operation, the taking of St. Denis 
was insignificant ; although the vivid impression of 
the Prince, afforded by the monastic chronicle, gives 
it a claim to be recorded in detail. No adequate 
force could be left to hold the place, which was 
recaptured, twelve hours later, by the Royalists. 
But as a factor in the relations between Conde and the 
Parisians, the expedition was not without result. 
Every citizen who had taken part in it now boasted that 
he had been to the wars with M. le Prince ; each one 
forgot his own discomfiture, and, in the bosom of his 
family, * remembered, with advantages, the feats he 
did that day '. Conde need only have humoured 
this vanity to give his popularity a fresh lease of life. 
He knew, to a certain extent, the importance of public 
opinion at this juncture, and had even made a few 
most unwonted efforts to secure it ; his enemies were 
pardonably sceptical when, on the occasion of a religious 
procession, organised ' to implore the assistance of 
Heaven against Cardinal Mazarin ', the Prince stood 
among the crowd, side by side with Beaufort, and 
showed extravagant devotion as the reliquary of Ste. 
Genevieve was carried past. But nature, and the 
habits of a lifetime, were too strong for him ; after the 
affair of St. Denis, a correspondent of Mazarin 's writes 
that " M. le Prince fit des railleries aux bourgeois ", 
on the subject of their flight, " dont les bourgeois se 
sont fort piques >; . 1 No man had less sympathy than 
Conde with the ' psychology of crowds '. The Parisians, 
burghers and ' canaille ' alike, represented, for him, 
the two qualities he most abhorred namely, cowardice 
and stupidity ; to these, he opposed two most unpopular 
weapons, and was either sarcastic, or violently im- 
patient. One day, as he went unwillingly to attend 
a debate in Parliament on the proposed peace with the 
Court, he found the ante-rooms of the Palais de Justice 
thronged by a mob of the lowest class of citizens, who as 
they watched him pass, shouted unceasingly : ' La paix ! 
la paix ! ' The cry was afterwards proved to have been 
first raised by certain paid agents of the Abbe Fouquet, 
but was re-echoed by the crowd with deafening per- 
sistence. Conde, exasperated, suddenly shot out 3 

* * A whiles Etrangeres, Paris, 


hand, and caught hold of a man who stood near and 
who was yelling louder than the rest, " What kind of 
peace do you want ? " he asked him fiercely, shaking 
him as he spoke. ''What conditions? Answer me ! 
Do you want Mazarin to go or stay ? " The man, 
terrified by this onslaught, could only stammer out 
the party catchwords, " Monseigneur, la paix point 
de Mazarin!" " Well ", said the Prince, " don't you 
see that that is what we are working for ? Why make 
such a noise ? " l 

While the Parliament was occupied in publishing 
decrees against him, Mazarin, for his part, did not confine 
himself to negotiations with the Princes ; but was 
actively engaged in treating with their supposed ally, 
the Duke of Lorraine. Five months had passed since 
Duke Charles, urged by Madame, his sister, had signed 
a treaty, promising his coveted support to the rebels ; 
but he had, so far, shown no sign of carrying his word 
into effect. The irresponsible pose he affected was 
merely a cloak for diplomacy, and he was perfectly 
aware of the advantages to be gained by hesitation. 
On May 22nd, Turenne laid definite siege to fitampes. 
The Princes renewed their demands for further assist- 
ance from Spain ; but the Spanish Government, wholly 
bent on the conquest of Flemish fortresses, paid Duke 
Charles to undertake the relief of fitampes, and to leave 
their Generals free to besiege Dunkirk and the lesser 
ports, while France was disabled by civil war. Having, 
by this means, secured a considerable sum of money, 
over and above that which had been promised in the 
original terms of the treaty, the Duke consented to lead 
his army across the frontier ; he advanced as far as 
Magny, where he left his troops, and came to Paris to 
confer with the Princes. Such, at least, was the 
nominal object of his journey ; but while, for several 
days, he seemed to avoid all serious conversation, and 
kept his company half- amused, half-scandalised by his 
antics, he was in reality debating whether to keep to 
his first promise, or to yield to Mazarin 's bribes. Both 
Monsieur and Conde more than suspected him of double 
dealing. Conde went so far as to observe to Made- 
moiselle that he was not satisfied with an ally whose 
troops only advanced at a rate of five miles a day ; 
but remonstrance was impossible, for the smallest 

1 Conrart, Memoir es. 


provocation might turn the scale in favour of the Court. 
The position was indeed humiliating ! Conde found 
himself obliged to receive the guest of his party with all 
honour, to bear with his impertinences, and even, on 
certain occasions, to yield him precedence. Duke 
Charles, agreeably conscious of his own power, gave 
himself up to the pleasure of driving the representatives 
of both parties to the extreme limit of patience. He paid 
many compliments to Mademoiselle, whom he diverted 
against her will ; but he was no sooner approached 
on affairs of State than, as she says, " he began to sing 
and dance, so that no one could help laughing ". The 
most practised intriguers were helpless before him. 
He accepted Monsieur's invitation to a conference at 
the Luxembourg ; but, seeing Retz among the company, 
he fell on his knees, and called for a rosary : " With 
priests, one must pray ; all they are good for is to say 
prayers ". The Duchesse de Chevreuse, who came as 
an emissary from the Court, fared no better ; she found 
the Duke playing on a guitar. " Let us dance, Mes- 
dames ; it will suit you far better than talking politics ". 1 
While their leader thus amused himself, the army of 
Lorraine advanced, by the slow stages of which Conde 
complained, to Villeneuve-St. -Georges. The Princes, 
with Mademoiselle and her ladies, visited the camp 
(June 7th), and were royally entertained by the Duke ; 
who, as a climax to the feast, made a solemn undertaking 
to attack Turenne on the following day. He offered 
to pledge his word in writing ; but Monsieur, being, with 
the rest, in a convivial humour, declared that a promise 
was enough. Next day came, and with it the news 
that Turenne, hearing of the Lorrainers' approach, had 
raised the siege. Duke Charles promptly changed his 
tactics. With Turenne free to take the offensive, the 
state of affairs demanded an increase of caution ; 
especially from a prince without lands, whose fortunes 
depended entirely on his troops, and who must therefore 
on no account risk a crushing defeat. For a week the 
Duke continued at Villeneuve an excellent strategic 
position observing the movements of both Turenne 's 
and Tavannes* forces ; while envoys and. messengers 
plied ceaselessly between Paris, the camp, and the 
Court. In the end, the directness of Turenne 's methods 
succeeded where those of skilled diplomatists had failed, 

1 Montpensier, Memoires, 


The Royalists drew off to the north-west, from fitampes, 
and halted, maintaining a position between the army 
of the Princes and that of Lorraine. Tavannes, with 
his released force, took his way to St. Cloud, where the 
Prince meant to fix his headquarters ; while the Court, 
in constant fear of being cut off from Turenne's pro- 
tection, removed from St. Germain to Corbeil, and from 
Corbeil to Melun. Turenne waited till the King had 
accomplished his journey in safety ; then, striking 
camp on June i4th, he advanced rapidly upon Ville- 
neuve. In vain Duke Charles sought to delay him ; 
artifices and negotiations were swept aside, and the 
Marshal issued his ultimatum ; the Duke must either 
fight, or withdraw his forces, and that instantly. The 
sight of the Royalist army, drawn up in full order of 
battle, proved an irresistible argument. Within a few 
hours a new treaty had been signed ; Mazarin's bribe 
was accepted ; and on the morning of June i6th the 
Lorrainers left Villeneuve, to retrace their steps across 
the frontier. 

Great was the wrath and consternation among the 
party of the Princes ! At the Luxembourg, indignation 
was at its height ; Monsieur swore, Madame wept for a 
whole day, and Mademoiselle rated her without mercy ; 
treating her somewhat unjustly as responsible for 
her brother's defection. " My zeal for our cause over- 
came me", Mademoiselle admits; and well it might. 
With Duke Charles had departed, not only ten thousand 
fighting men, but the last vestige of public confidence 
in the Princes. To invite an invasion of foreign troops 
had indeed been a desperate measure, and one which 
nothing but success could have justified ; as it was, the 
Parisians had seen the foreigners within a few miles of 
their gates, pillaging the country to support themselves ; 
and all to no purpose, since the ' Mazarins' had not been 
defeated, and the promised peace seemed to be no nearer 
than before. As Tavannes' forces drew near St. Cloud, 
the attitude of both Parliament and people became more 
definitely hostile. Conflicting accusations were levelled 
against Monsieur, against Conde, and even against 
Beaufort. " I am tired of giving account for my 
actions to people of no importance, like you ! " Conde 
exclaimed at last to a counsellor of the Parliament. 
' When I make war, you accuse me of trying to dethrone 
the King ; when I propose an agreement, you call me 


a Mazarin ! " 1 The counsellor might have retorted 
that M. le Prince was doing his best to satisfy them by 
pursuing both courses at once ; for the negotiations 
with the Court had never been entirely dropped, and 
fresh efforts were constantly made by Chavigny, or by 
Madame de Chatillon, both of whom had private in- 
terests at stake. Lawlessness and tumult reigned on 
every side. The Princes mistrusted each other as 
thoroughly as the Parisians mistrusted them all ; each 
one was suspected of being ready to betray his whole 
party to the Court, if he could do so to his own advan- 
tage. The Parliament, incapable of any concerted or 
decisive action, was openly condemned by the people, 
whom the misery of long-standing wars- had driven 
to desperation. On June 23rd, and again two days 
later, a crowd of rioters surrounded the Palais de 
Justice ; several leading members were attacked, 
and were rescued with difficulty from the hands of the 
mob. After the second uproar, the sittings of Parlia- 
ment were discontinued for a time, and a relief com- 
mittee was organised, to remedy the suffering and want 
among the people. But while the committee wrestled 
with their task, hindered by a small company of 
1 dames devotes ', who were already dispensing charity, 
and who resented interference, a crisis was fast ap- 
proaching beyond the walls. Since the Duke of 
Lorraine's retreat, Mazarin had resolved to concentrate 
the forces of his party in one supreme effort ; and La 
Ferte, at the head of three thousand men, was sum- 
moned from the eastern frontier to join Turenne. With 
this addition, the Royalist army numbered between 
eleven and twelve thousand men ; while that of the 
Princes had been reduced by their late reverses, and by 
desertions consequent on lack of payment to a bare 
seven thousand, all told ; a decisive action could 
scarcely fail to result in a victory for the King's cause. 
The rebel army would either be surrounded in the open, 
or driven back against the walls of Paris ; and if, as 
Mazarin hoped, the authorities within the city should 
close the line of retreat by refusing to open their gates 
to the troops, defeat would mean annihilation. 

Conde's original instincts with regard to war and 
politics had reasserted themselves during the past 
weeks ; and the troops were no sooner released from 


fitampes than he decided to resume the command. 
He had been suffering from intermittent fever, that 
prevailing complaint of the time ; but he was able to 
join the forces at St. Cloud on June i6th, just as Duke 
Charles arrived at his decision. A few days later, the 
rumour that a Spanish detachment was marching to 
his support, caused him to seize the small town of Poissy, 
so as to ensure his allies a passage across the Seine. 
The Royalists advanced to Dammartin, keeping watch 
for these same reinforcements ; but the report proved 
groundless, and Turenne continued his march to St. 
Denis, closely accompanied by the Court. 

The Prince had established his forces between 
St. Cloud and Gennevilliers, on a tongue of land sur- 
rounded on three sides by the Seine. 1 The bridge of 
St. Cloud secured his communications with the ' fau- 
bourgs ' or outskirts of Paris, which lay between him 
and the city walls. Turenne, being informed of this 
disposition, took prompt advantage of his own superior 
numbers. La Ferte, with a detachment of between 
three and four thousand men, was ordered to engage the 
enemy's attention by throwing a bridge of boats across 
the Seine above Epinay ; while Turenne led the main 
army along the right bank, intending to cross the river 
and conduct an attack at a lower point . Early on July i st , 
Tavannes heard from a scou ting-party that La Ferte 's 
men had been seen at work on the bridge ; and sent such 
an urgent message to headquarters that Conde came up 
at full speed, under the impression that at least half the 
Royalist army had crossed already. On his arrival, 
he found the bridge still in an early stage of construction, 
but the builders had installed a battery on the Isle 
St. Denis, and all efforts to dislodge them were vain. 
As Conde drew near, a shot passed within a few inches 
of his head, and he was persuaded to take shelter in a 
neighbouring house ; where he held a council of war, 
at which Nemours, La Rochefoucauld, Beaufort, 
Tavannes, and others were present. Meanwhile a 
large body of troops had been sighted on the farther 
bank, marching towards Argenteuil, and the fact was 
duly reported to the Prince : "It is easy to see ", he 
said, addressing the council, " that M. de Turenne 
means to march either by Poissy or by Meudon and to 
attack us in the rear, while M. de La Ferte keeps us 

1 See upper diagram facing p. 388, 


amused here with this bridge of his, over which he 
will take exactly as long as it suits him ; and then 
some fine morning we shall have them both on our 
hands "^ Therefore, he pointed out, their best course 
would be to take up a new position at Charenton, in the 
triangular space formed by the junction of the Seine 
with the Marne. Outnumbered as they were, they had 
not the smallest expectation of defeating Turenne, but 
they hoped to hold him in check until the long-promised 
Spanish reinforcements should be actually at hand. 
The shortest and safest route to Charenton was through 
Paris itself ; passing in by the Porte de la Conference, 
on the west side of the city, and out by the Porte St. 
Antoine, on the south-east ; but the temper of the 
authorities was such, that admittance was more than 
doubtful, and an alternative route had to be decided on 
in case of need. The first under discussion lay south of 
Paris, along the left bank of the Seine, by Meudon, 
Grenelle, and the Faubourg St. Germain ; this was 
abandoned at the instance of Monsieur, who, hastily 
consulted, sent a message to discourage the scheme, 
in the strongest language of which he was capable. 
He knew that he was exposing Conde and the troops 
to great danger ; but Retz, and other of the Prince's 
enemies, eagerly represented how, in the event of any 
engagement in the Faubourg St. Germain, the Palace of 
the Luxembourg and its inhabitants would be gravely 
imperilled. Monsieur's wishes could not be lightly 
disregarded, since he was the only Prince representing 
their party in Paris ; it was on his influence, for want 
of better, that Conde depended for keeping open the 
line of retreat. A third route was finally agreed upon. 
Before sunset, on July ist, the whole force crossed the 
bridge of St. Cloud, and halted in the Cours-la-Reine; 
then finding, as the Prince had foreseen, no admittance 
by the Porte de la Conference, turned aside through the 
Bois de Boulogne, and prepared to skirt the walls by 
the northern and eastern faubourgs St. Honore, Mont- 
martre, St. Denis, St. Martin, St. Antoine until Charen- 
ton was reached. No time was to be lost, for at any 
moment Turenne might discover the manoeuvre, and 
turn back in pursuit ; and the line of march left both 
flank and rear exposed to attack. All night the troops 
held on their way through the faubourgs. As they left 

1 Tavannes, Memoires. 


the Cours, Mademoiselle, in her apartment at theTuileries, 
was roused by the sound of their drums and trumpets, 
and stood at her window till two in the morning listening 
to the regimental marches. She knew, only too well, 
how easily her father's fear for his own safety, and his 
jealousy of M. le Prince, would be turned to account ; 
" and I thought with sorrow ", she says, " of all that 
might come to pass ". 

Conde's advance - guard, under Tavannes, was 
followed by a second column, commanded by Nemours ; 
the Prince, hourly expecting Turenne's approach, had 
chosen his own place with the third column, or rear- 
guard. At nightfall, since no enemy had been sighted, 
he left his troops with orders to continue their route, 
whilst he made a short cut through Paris, without escort, 
and secured an interview with Monsieur, by the way. 
Admittance could scarcely be refused him when he 
came alone ; but the conference at the Luxembourg 
was brief and discouraging. Monsieur had that day 
been informed of a message sent by the King to the 
Prevot des Marchands, conjuring ' messieurs de la 
ville ' to give no shelter to the rebels ; and he was 
privately resolved to do nothing which might turn 
popular feeling against himself ; he made vague prom- 
ises and suggestions, knowing that time was on his 
side, and that the Prince could not wait to be satisfied 
before hastening back to his post. A night march was 
slow and difficult through the narrow, ill-lighted ways 
of the faubourgs ; and Conde, passing out soon after 
midnight by the Porte St. Martin, found that the troops 
had covered less distance than he expected. Tavannes 
was scarcely beyond the Faubourg St. Antoine ; the 
rear-guard had not passed the Porte du Temple. At 
dawn, a reconnaissance made from Montfaucon showed 
that all hope of gaining a position at Charenton must 
be abandoned. The Royalist advance-guard, marching 
in battle order, had reached Charonne ; Turenne had 
received warning, and had marched all night. Conde 
reviewed the situation in a flash. He sent orders to 
Tavannes to turn back, by the way he had come, and 
to take up the most advantageous position which he 
could find near at hand. Another messenger was 
dispatched to Monsieur, entreating him to use every 
means in his power for keeping open a line of retreat 
through the gates, and also to send out a reinforcement. 


of whatever armed men the city could furnish. Beau- 
fort was told off to assist in mustering these troops. 
The messenger to the Luxembourg had orders, should 
Monsieur's answer be unfavourable, to carry on the 
request to Mademoiselle ; but even this staunch ally 
had shown signs of wavering. Her disapproval of the 
negotiations with the Court, and, above all, of Madame 
de Chatillon's part in them, had gone near to estranging 
her sympathies ; and it was with no positive confidence 
that Conde framed his message, begging her ' not to 
desert him '. Already it seemed as though help might 
be too late. The Prince had not left Montfaucon when 
word came that the cavalry of his rear-guard had been 
attacked by the enemy's advance-guard, under Navailles, 
and was faring badly. Two squadrons had been cut 
to pieces, before Conde's own vigorous resistance, and 
the sight of Tavannes' troops posted in the Faubourg St. 
Antoine, checked the pursuit, causing Navailles to draw 
back, and await Turenne under the heights of Charonne. 
It was soon after six o'clock, on a hot and sunny 
morning (July 2nd), that Conde reached the Faubourg 
St. Antoine, where Tavannes was already preparing 
defences. The situation, in truth, was almost desperate. 
The army of the Princes had been further reduced by 
the detachment of a force to hold Poissy, and now 
numbered less than six thousand ; Turenne, with eight 
thousand, was even now upon them, and La Ferte, with 
over three thousand more, had only to come up from 
fipinay. Conde looked towards the open country, and 
knew that enemies were closing round him ; while 
behind him there stood the locked gates of the city, and 
the guns of the Bastille. Paris had awakened to hear 
that M. le Prince had been brought to bay, and that 
in a few hours he must be either dead or a prisoner ; 
and the news drew forth the citizens, in hundreds, to 
line the walls near the Porte St. Antoine, eager as 
Romans for a gladiatorial show. The same tidings 
had reached the Court of St. Denis ; and not long after 
daybreak Mazarin, with the young King, mounted the 
heights of Charonne, to see, from afar, " his desire upon 
his enemies ". Two courses were open to the Prince ; 
either he might send, at this eleventh hour, to ask for 
terms, and surrender himself a prisoner at discretion ; 
or, he might make a last stand in his present position, 
and, if all help failed him, sell his life and liberty as 


dearly as possible. Being the man he was, he chose 
the second alternative, without hesitation. If the 
King had come out to Charonne, and the Parisians to 
their walls, to see him conquered, they should first 
see him fight. His officers were, one and all, of the 
same mind. Death had grievously thinned the ranks 
of the ' petits-maitres ' since the days of Fribourg and 
Nordlingen ; but the spirit of reckless courage and 
lightheartedness survived in full force, and, where 
Conde led, never lacked representatives. 

The outlines of the Faubourg St. Antoine are 
described in French records as those of a ' patte d'oie ' ; 
and it would be hard to find a better description. The 
three principal streets start from the Porte St. Antoine, 
and diverge ; the Grande Rue du Faubourg leading 
straight down the centre, the Rue de Charenton to the 
right, and the Rue de Charonne to the left. These three 
principal thoroughfares, which still exist, were con- 
nected by a network of smaller streets, interspersed 
with fields and gardens. Conde founded his defences 
on the barricades erected, a few weeks earlier, by the 
inhabitants, against the approach of the troops of 
Lorraine ; in addition, houses and garden walls were 
hurriedly fortified and loop-holed. Three guns were 
posted at the cross-roads of La Croix-Faubin, half-way 
down the Rue de Charonne ; four more were ranged, 
two and two, at intervals in the Grande Rue de Fau- 
bourg. Valon commanded in the Rue de Charonne ; 
Tavannes in the Rue de Charenton ; Clinchamp in the 
Grande Rue. Conde, with his usual staff of ' volon- 
taires ' ' 1'escadron dore ' had no fixed post ; his 
presence was all-pervading. For an hour, or more, 
the enemy seemed quiescent. Turenne had joined 
Navailles at Charenton, and was waiting to begin the 
attack until La Ferte's troops should come up. But 
the King and Mazarin were in no humour for delay ; 
Conde was already outnumbered, and they were im- 
patient for victory. Pressing orders were sent to the 
Marshal ; and his brother, the Due de Bouillon, added 
the warning that any hesitation might be construed 
into a lurking sympathy with M. le Prince. Thus 
urged, Turenne had no choice. He proceeded im- 
mediately to make dispositions for three direct frontal 
attacks ; one, he would lead himself, on the Grande 
Rue ; St. Maigrin was charged with a second, to be 


directed on the Rue de Charonne ; Navailles was to 
attack Tavannes in the Rue de Charenton. 

Shortly before eight o'clock, a preliminary attack 
was attempted by a detachment of the Royalist advance- 
guard in the hope of surprising the defenders of the Rue 
de Charonne before their preparations were complete ; 
but the Prince, audaciously taking the offensive, sallied 
out with two or three squadrons of light horse, and 
charged so effectively that the attacking force retired 
in disorder upon the main army. Conde had regained 
his position, when St. Maigrin 's troops moved forward ; 
two infantry battalions, and the household cavalry ; 
the latter magnificent to behold, with ' force plumes 
et force dorure '. Their leader was a private, as well as 
a public, enemy of the Prince ; that same Marquis de 
St. Maigrin whose suit Marthe du Vigean had summarily 
refused seven years earlier, and who had never forgiven 
Conde for outrivalling him, nor ceased to look for 
vengeance. The difference in rank forbade his chal- 
lenging M. le Prince in any personal quarrel ; but he 
could, and did, firmly purpose to kill him with his own 
hand in battle. 1 This intention he confided to certain 
of his friends, who were to ride near him, throughout 
the day, in the thickest of the fight, and to lose no 
opportunity of surrounding the Prince. St. Maigrin 
hurled his infantry against Valon's barricade, and at 
the first onslaught carried all before him ; the defences 
were swept aside, and the cavalry pressed on up the 
street. Still he had not found what he sought ; Conde 
was not in the Rue de Charonne, but was dispatching 
orders right and left from the market-place of the 
Faubourg. At the same moment, Turenne, coming up 
with the main body of infantry, attacked in the centre. 
St. Maigrin heard the sound of firing ; leaving his 
troops, he turned to the left, followed by those in his 
confidence, and dashed up a side street towards the 
Grande Rue. His chance of revenge escaped him by 
a hair's breadth ; a moment later Conde charged 
like a whirlwind, out of the market-place into the 
Rue de Charonne, driving back the Royalists to the 
outermost barricade. The loss was heavy on both 
sides ; in the words of Marigny's record, 2 ' un carnage 
horrible '. St. Maigrin paid for his rashness with his 

1 Conrart, Memoir es. 

2 Relation veritable, written by Marigny, the day after the fight. 

2 5 


life ; he was shot dead, at the corner of a narrow street, 
where the fighting was fierce ; and beside him fell 
Mazarin's nephew, Paul Mancini. Valon and Clinchamp 
were both disabled. The Royalists, strong in their 
greater numbers, brought forward fresh troops ; 
Navailles attacked Tayannes in the Rue de Charenton; 
and now, the whole line on either side was engaged. 
For more than four hours, in the heat of the day, and 
under a scorching sun, successive attacks broke like 
waves against the barricades. More than once the 
enemy forced a way through and penetrated into the 
heart of the faubourg ; but only to be beaten back 
again, leaving their dead to mark the turning-point. 
Conde fought like one possessed ; the Royalists said that 
he was no man, but a devil ; only a devil could fight as 
he did, and be present at once, as he seemed to be, at 
each point of attack. Turenne was asked afterwards 
" if he had seem M. le Prince during the action " ; and 
answered : " I saw a dozen of him or more n . 1 The 
Marshal admits that the rebels held their own on every 
side, excepting in the Rue de Charenton, where Navailles 
seized the outer defences, and kept possession of them ; 
his men fought their way beyond the Jardin de Ram- 
bouillet, in spite of Tavannes' best efforts. Conde was 
preparing to lead his last reserves of infantry against 
them, when Beaufort emerged from the city gates, with 
the few followers he had been able to muster. Their 
number was so small as to be almost negligible, and 
the authorities let them pass without difficulty. Beau- 
fort himself was burning for a chance of distinction, 
and scarcely waited for the Prince's permission, before 
setting off at full speed to recapture the barricades ; 
followed by Nemours, La Rochefoucauld, and a troop 
of others, who would have counted it disgrace to stay 
behind. Navailles held the houses on either side of 
the barricade, and bullets rained from their windows ; 
in a few moments, more than half Beaufort's com- 
panions were killed or disabled. Nemours was twice 
wounded ; La Rochefoucauld was shot in the face, 
and fell, blinded and helpless. The Royalists, beaten 
back a few yards by the onslaught, came on again, 
and would have made prisoners of all the survivors ; 
when Conde, with infantry of ' Bourgogne ', came up, 
under a hot fire ; held back the enemy, and covered 
1 Turenne, M6moire$, 


the retreat of the wounded. ' Bourgogne ' lost nine 
officers in this engagement alone, besides thirteen 
sergeants and many men. 1 The barricade was cleared 
of the enemy's troops, but the Prince had no force to 
hold it, and was obliged to draw back towards the 

The exact sequence of incidents in such a day is not 
easy to trace ; many records exist, but no one writer 
was calm enough to take accurate note of the lapse of 
time. There seems, however, no doubt that it was 
directly after the fight in the Rue de Charenton, when 
his last reserves were exhausted, and when most of his 
friends had fallen before his eyes, that Conde received 
the message which was to change the face of the day 
for him and for his followers. Mademoiselle self- 
willed, hot-tempered, but staunch to her allies had 
worked a miracle. Conde 's appeal had waked her at 
six o'clock that morning, and since that time she had 
expended herself in efforts on his behalf. 2 Monsieur, 
encouraged by Retz, had already sent his usual answer 
to all inconvenient requests ; namely, that illness pre- 
vented him from making the necessary exertion. 
Mademoiselle hurried to the Luxembourg, and found him 
standing on the stairs. She implored him, with tears, 
either to go and assist M. le Prince, or else, for very 
shame, to take to his bed, and play the invalid more 
convincingly. He would do neither ; fear for his own 
safety had deadened every other consideration. All 
she could win from him, after more than an hour's 
entreaty, in which Rohan and Chavigny joined, was 
leave to go in his name to the Hotel de Ville and obtain 
what favour she might from the civic authorities. 
This permission was enough for the Princess ; she con- 
fronted the Marechal de 1'Hopital, Governor of Paris, 
Le Fevre, Prevot des Marchands, and the whole munici- 
pal body ; and requested their help, with all the assur- 
ance she could command. She began by asking for a 
levy of troops, and kept to the last the supreme appeal 
that they would open their gates to the Princes' army, 
and close them to the King's. At first she met only 
with discouragement ; the Governor intimated to her, 

1 Official list of killed and wounded, published with Marigny's Relation 

2 For the whole account of Mademoiselle's proceedings during the day, 
see her Mkmoires ; also the Registres de 1'Hotel de Ville. 


with a plainness she would not have borne at another 
time, that the Prince had only himself to thank for his 
present position. But she was too much bent on her 
object to take offence, and would not be drawn into 
argument : " Gentlemen ", she said, " M. le Prince is 
in danger in your faubourgs. Think of the shame and 
grief that would fall upon Paris if he perished there 
through your fault. You can help him ; therefore 
lose no time ! " Her enthusiasm carried the day ; 
L'Hopital had been accounted a staunch loyalist, but 
he wavered at the thought of being held responsible 
for the death of a l premier Prince '. Mademoiselle 
spent some time in an agony of suspense, while the 
council withdrew for deliberation ; but at length the 
Governor informed her that all her requests would be 
granted. Her triumph was complete ; she dispatched 
an urgent message to Conde, and started, herself, for 
the Porte St. Antoine to see that her orders were carried 
out. Princesses of that time were not over-susceptible ; 
but the sights that greeted her on her way, robbed 
her of sleep that night. The tide of public feeling had 
been turned by the sight of Conde's heroic resistance ; 
the great gates were still closed, but the ' guichet ', 
or small door, of the Porte St. Antoine stood open to 
admit the wounded. As Mademoiselle drew near the 
gates, the ghastly procession met her ; many of her 
own acquaintance were there ; Valon, Guitaut, and 
La Rochefoucauld among them. " At every step ", 
she says, " I met wounded men ; some on foot or on 
horseback, some carried on litters, on planks, or on 
1 hand-barrows ' ". She was thankful to turn aside 
into a house by the Bastille, just inside the gates, 
which an official had placed at her disposal ; and here, 
soon after midday, the Prince came to meet her, in 
answer to her message. The desperate struggle of the 
Rue de Charenton had been succeeded by a lull ; each 
side drew back, to take breath, before returning to the 
charge ; and Conde, hearing that the ally who had 
saved him was so close at hand, passed in alone to 
thank her. There was not an instant to lose, for the 
attack might be renewed at any moment ; he came, 
as Mademoiselle describes him, straight out of the 
fight, a strange and terrifying figure ; dishevelled, 
exhausted, covered with blood and dust, and holding 
a naked sword in his hand, the sheath had been lost. 



I del '." 
SMntoine / 


f Small Streets 

.... Conde's Line of defences 

[To face p. 388 

1652] LA FERTfi COMES UP 389 

He had toiled and fought for many hours, with every 
fibre of his being ; and now, as the tension suddenly 
relaxed, the nervous force that had sustained him 
gave way ; without a word, he gave his sword to the 
nearest attendant, dropped on to a seat, and burst 
into tears. The Princess watched him, in blank 
astonishment, till he was able to speak ; when he apolo- 

?ised to her, saying, " You must forgive my grief; 
have lost all my friends ! " Mademoiselle reassured 
him eagerly ; she had seen Guitaut and La Rochefou- 
cauld, and had tidings of Nemours ; these, at least, 
though wounded, were neither dead nor despaired of. 
" This ", she says, " consoled him a little ". He collected 
himself to give orders for the passing in of the baggage, 
which he begged her to superintend ; but he refused 
to take her advice and seek his own safety that very 
hour ; ' in full daylight ', as he said, ' before the 
Mazarins '. Mademoiselle remained at her post, proud, 
but half-frightened at her own boldness. She was 
visited during the day by Madame de Chatillon, who 
appeared, for once, thoroughly at a disadvantage ; her 
vaunted efforts for peace had not saved Conde from this 
predicament, and it was credibly reported that she 
had consulted her own interests rather than his ; but 
she now made great demonstrations of anxiety, to the 
unconcealed scorn of the Princess. 

Conde returned to the scene of action to find that 
eight of La Ferte's guns had come up, and were preparing 
to open fire on the Grande Rue. Tavannes was dis- 
posing the troops under cover ; which he did with such 
success that two or three hours of the enemy's fire resulted 
in less loss of life than the earlier engagements ; although 
the street was raked almost from end to end. Still, it was 
clearly impossible to delay the retreat longer than was 
absolutely necessary to save the appearance of a rout. 
Of the Prince's officers, the greater number were either 
dead or severely wounded ; the day was fittingly described 
as "rude pour les personnes de qualite". The men 
were exhausted ; they had marched all night, and 
fought since the early morning. The heat throughout 
the day had been intolerable, and had added greatly 
to their hardships ; Conde, half-stifled in a buff-coat and 
cuirass, had turned aside, at one moment, into a field 
of the faubourg, let himself be disarmed and undressed, 
and rolled naked in the grass ' as horses do/ says the 


chronicler ; then was equipped again, and went back 
to the fight. 1 La Ferte's men were at hand, compara- 
tively fresh ; no force that Paris could send out would 
avail against them ; all that remained for the Prince's 
troops was to withdraw. 

While dispositions were being made for the retreat, 
there came a second message from Mademoiselle ; her 
father had joined her at the gates, and wished to see 
the Prince. The summons had to be obeyed, for 
Monsieur might, even yet, assert himself inconveniently. 
Conde found his Royal Highness relieved of all anxiety, 
advancing to meet him with smiles, and apparently 
quite unconscious of having failed him in any respect. 
Mademoiselle was overwhelmed with shame on his 
behalf ; she begged Conde, privately, to abstain, for her 
sake, from any reproaches ; and, in gratitude to her, 
he allowed himself to be embraced and congratulated 
without a word of complaint. He was less forbearing 
towards Madame de Chatillon, and levelled such furious 
glances at her, that she retired in confusion ; Mademoi- 
selle looked on, exultant ; little knowing how short- 
lived such anger was likely to be. 

After a brief interview, Monsieur expressed his formal 
consent to the entrance of the army into Paris. Conde 
returned to join his troops ; and Mademoiselle 
possibly at his suggestion went to inspect the defences 
of the Bastille. The Royalists had ceased fire, and 
were withdrawing their batteries ; this fact was 
triumphantly announced in the faubourg. Conde, 
however, was convinced that the enemy could only be 
simulating retreat ; and ascended the bell-tower of the 
Abbey of St. Antoine to make a survey. He saw, as he 
had expected, that the whole of the Royalist reinforce- 
ments had come up, and that Turenne's intention was 
to surround him under the very walls of the city. One 
body of troops had turned to the right, towards La 
Roquette ; a second to the left, along the bank of the 
Seine. The Prince had arranged the order of his retreat 
some hours earlier ; he had only to descend from his 
coign of vantage, and give the word for it to be carried 
out in haste ; already the rear-guard must run con- 
siderable risk of being cut off. From the ramparts of 
the Bastille, Mademoiselle had similarly interpreted 
Turenne's manoeuvre ; and the sight prompted the 

1 Conrart, Memoires. 


most audacious act of her life. She had wrested from 
Monsieur a signed paper to the effect that her word was 
to be obeyed like his own ; and now, by her order, the 
guns of the fortress were turned upon the advancing 
force ; the King's troops were threatened by the King's 
cannon. But for this extreme measure, Conde might 
still have been lost. His forces had been delayed by the 
difficulty of withdrawing the artillery from the batteries 
in the faubourg, and Turenne had high hopes of achieving 
his object ; when, to the amazement of all, the guns 
of the Bastille opened fire. The Royalists, almost 
incredulous, checked their march; then, the shots were 
repeated. That warning could not be mistaken; Paris 
was on the side of the Prince, who would now make 
a safe retreat through the gates, protected by the 
fire from the walls. The spectators on the hill of 
Charonne watched with dismay, while Turenne 's forces, 
after a brief halt, withdrew slowly by the way they 
had come ; marching out beyond the faubourgs, to take 
up their headquarters north of St. Denis. 

Conde passed into Paris, with his troops, just before 
sunset ; a General forced from his position by the enemy, 
yet one who 

" for the manful part he played, 
That fought so well with heart and hand" 

was hailed as a conqueror ; and that by the same 
citizens who had assembled in the morning to rejoice at 
his downfall. He rode, as those who saw him said, 
' like the god of war ', on a horse flecked with foam ; 
his sword was still in his hand for the sheath had never 
been found and he held his head very high. 1 The 
fight of St. Antoine was a last despairing effort in a 
lost and unworthy cause ; the party gained little by it ; 
but, by the testimony of friends and enemies alike, 
Conde's personal reputation had never been more 
gallantly upheld. " Never had the Prince better 
fulfilled the duties of a soldier or of a General ", says 
the Duke of York, 2 who fought throughout the day 
by the side of Turenne; " nor had he ever been in 
greater danger. It was his courage alone which, in the 
early part of the day, saved his whole army from 
destruction ". 

1 Chavagnac, Memoires. 2 Afterwards James n of England. 


1652 (Continued) 

THE reaction of public feeling in favour of the 
Princes lasted for almost exactly forty-eight hours. 
In the succession of deplorable scenes which marks the 
closing stages of the Fronde, the leading actors seem to 
throw aside all traces of principle, of self-respect, and 
even of policy. Not one of Conde's moral or political 
errors, in the whole course of his career, was to bring 
more discredit on his name than his conduct during 
the armed riot called, by some stretch of imagination, 
1 the massacre ' which took place at the Hotel de Ville 
on July 4th, and destroyed, at one blow, the enthusiasm 
roused by the day of St. Antoine. To exonerate him 
from all blame, on this occasion, is manifestly im- 
possible ; but whether he must bear the responsibility 
of having actually organised the riot, or whether he 
can only be accused of culpable inaction in taking no 
steps to check it, has never been positively ascertained. 
The facts patent to all observers were as follows. 
By general consent, an assembly had been convened at 
the Hotel de Ville ; Monsieur was to preside ; the 
Parliament, the municipal authorities, the clergy, 
and the various trade guilds were all to be represented, 
for the ostensible object of " deliberating on the means 
of public safety". The leaders of the Princes' party 
made no secret of their expectations that the meeting 
would result in a " declaration of union " between 
themselves and the different bodies represented against 
the Court ; and, as a consequence of the events of 
July 2nd, their hopes were shared by a large proportion 
of the citizens, especially those of the lower ranks. 
Certain officials, such as the Governor PHopital, 
together with the more respectable ' bourgeoisie ', 



still clung to the idea of reconciliation, and of the King's 
return ; and in the belief that their counsels might 
prevail, the Royal sanction had been given to the 
assembly. On the day appointed, the delegates, to the 
number of over three hundred, were duly mustered in 
the Hotel de Ville. Without, in the Place de Greve, an 
excited crowd of the poorer citizens waited impatiently 
to hear the result of the debate ; among them, it was 
noted, were men from the Princes' regiments of ' Conde ' 
and ' Bourgogne ', whose quarters were near at hand, in 
the Faubourg St. Victor. The sympathies of the mob 
were fully apparent. Before the fight of St. Antoine, 
Conde had decreed that each soldier in the army of the 
Princes should wear a wisp of straw as a distinguishing 
mark ; while the King's men wore each a scrap of white 
paper for the same purpose. The Parisians had made 
these badges their own ; and, on the day of the assembly, 
no man not even a priest could walk abroad in 
safety without displaying a wisp of straw. Mademoi- 
selle set an example by wearing a large handful, tied to 
her fan with a blue ribbon ; in short, straw was said to be 
no longer straw, it was ' fleur d'antimazarin '* The 
time agreed upon for opening the deliberations was two 
o'clock ; but four o'clock had struck before the Princes 
made their appearance. Monsieur's dread of being in- 
volved in any disturbance was so great that he could 
scarcely be persuaded to leave the Luxembourg ; 
the joint arguments of Conde and Mademoiselle had been 
required to prevail upon him. On his arrival at the 
Hotel de Ville, it seemed as though fear had paralysed 
his usually fluent utterance. His rank made him of 
necessity the spokesman of the party, and it lay with 
him to put forward the suggestion of a general coalition ; 
instead of which he contented himself with thanking 
' Messieurs de la ville ' for their timely assistance in 
admitting the troops ; and there stopped short. A 
letter from the King was read, in which His Majesty 
requested that all decisions might be deferred for a 
week ; and Monsieur, eager to make his escape, gave 
the signal for the Princes to withdraw, on the pretext 
of leaving the company to deliberate. The Princes and 
the delegates were alike left with a sense of failure ; 
each side had apparently expected suggestions to come 
from the other. As Monsieur passed out into the 

1 B.N., Papiers de Lenet ; Marigny to Lenet, July 7. 


Place de Gr&ve his companions did not fail to denounce 
the proceedings of the assembly in full hearing of the 
crowd ; and one voice ascribed by some to a noted 
frondeur, the Comte de Be'thune, and by others to 
Conde himself cried out: " Those fellows are Mazarins ! 
Do what you will with them ! " Shouts of indignation 
arose in answer, and several musket-shots were fired 
against the walls and windows of the Hotel de Ville ; 
the Princes made no attempt to quell the tumult, but 
returned together to the Luxembourg. Half an hour 
later, when Monsieur was resting after his exertions, 
and Conde was looking through dispatches, with 
Mademoiselle, in the ante-room, there entered a 
messenger, breathless with haste and agitation, exclaim- 
ing that the mob were setting fire to the Hotel de Ville, 
and preparing to murder the delegates. Monsieur came 
out of his room, half-dressed, to inquire what was the 
matter ; and, being informed, turned at once to Conde, 
asking him to go and restore order ; but the Prince 
answered sardonically, with the assurance of a man 
whose courage has never been questioned, " that he 
understood nothing of sedition, and in such cases was 
no better than a coward ". " Send M. de Beaufort ", 
he added, " the people know him and like him ; he will 
be more useful that I could be "- 1 Beaufort was 
ordered forth accordingly ; and Mademoiselle, encour- 
aged by her late triumphs, volunteered to follow 
him. Conde, whatever harm he might wish the 
delegates, .was shamed, at this point, into making a 
definite offer to accompany her, but nearly everyone 
present, including the Princess herself, dissuaded him ; 
pointing out, with truth, that her presence might have 
a more pacifying effect than his, and that she would run 
far less personal risk than any Prince. While time 
passed in this discussion, no escape seemed possible for 
the occupants of the Hotel de Ville. In vain they 
tried to pacify their enemies by drawing up, and dis- 
playing at a window, a written ' act of union with the 
Princes ' ; the crowd would neither hear, nor see ; 
faggots and pitch were brought, and the great door of 
the building was set alight. The soldiers on guard at the 
entrance, fired into the thickest of the press ; many 
of the attacking mob were killed and wounded, and the 
fury of the rest was redoubled. Miron, ' maitre des 

1 Montpensier, MSmoires. 

1652] THE ' MASSACRE ' 395 

comptes,' a strong supporter of the Princes, was seized 
and brutally slaughtered, as he attempted to face them ; 
and Lemaire, the town clerk, was dangerously wounded. 
Still, no help arrived. Not Beaufort, nor even Mademoi- 
selle, could gain admittance to the Place de Greve, past 
the chains which the rioters had stretched across the 
neighbouring streets, to cut off all approach ; the 
Princess waited in her carriage ; and Beaufort, who 
showed no great zeal to restore order, took shelter in a 
mercer's shop. As the smoke and flames poured into 
the hall, the delegates gave up all hope ; many of them 
made their confessions to the clerical members of the 
assembly, and prepared for death ; others hid themselves 
in remote parts of the building. The climax, though 
disgraceful enough, was less terrible than they antici- 
pated. When, at length, the doors gave way, and the 
assailants surged in to work their will, they proved 
to be more bent on plunder than on murder ; out of 
the whole number of delegates whose lives had been 
threatened, only five met their death, struck down in the 
turmoil and confusion. Of the rest, many were roughly 
handled, and some few seriously injured. Nearly all 
were robbed of whatever money or jewels were found 
in their possession ; only a few of the more fortunate 
escaped by the windows, or succeeded in bribing the 
leaders of the mob to give them safe conduct home. 
It was not till close on eleven o'clock that night, when 
the hall was emptied of the crowd, that Beaufort and 
Mademoiselle at last made their appearance ; a way 
was cleared for the Princess, across the blackened 
and still smoking timbers, and she assisted at an 
exhaustive search, in every apartment of the Hotel de 
Ville, for any delegates who might still be in hiding. 
None remained, excepting the ' prevot des marchands ', 
who was found in one of the inner rooms, hastily dis- 
guised by a borrowed wig ; and who was at once safely 
escorted to his own house. The Marshal de 1'Hopital, 
regardless of his dignity as Governor, had borrowed 
a soldier's uniform, and so made his escape undetected. 
Beaufort exerted what authority he might to clear the 
Place de Gr&ve, but it was morning before the mob 
was fully dispersed. 

Such was the ' Massacre of the Hotel de Ville ' ; 
rightly spoken of by Mademoiselle as " the death-blow of 
the party ". It must be admitted that, whatever harm 


resulted to the Princes from the incidents of that day, 
was richly deserved. The enemies of M. le Prince never 
ceased to affirm positively that the riot had been 
expressly organised by him, with a view to quelling all 
possible opposition, and that he would have sacrificed 
the whole assembly, on account of the hostile attitude 
of some of its members. The charge has never been 
wholly disproved, in spite of Conde 's denials, and of the 
testimony of many who were well qualified to judge ; 
among them, Tavannes, whom a personal quarrel with 
the Prince does not prevent from declaring that 
" common sense makes it impossible to believe such 
a calumny " . l Retz puts forward an independent 
statement, to the effect that the whole disturbance 
originated in a plot against himself ; that the soldiers 
scattered among the mob had been placed there for the 
purpose of leading an attack on his dwelling, and that 
the anger of the mob was diverted, by some accident, 
towards the delegates. 2 But the Cardinal is notoriously 
untrustworthy where any tribute to his own importance 
is concerned ; and not even his assertion that Conde 
himself was his authority, has carried conviction to 
historians. Other evidence, still less to be relied on, is 
that of Monsieur ; who, a few months later, on restoring 
his allegiance to the Crown, confirmed indiscriminately, 
as was his habit, all charges made against his former 
allies. The question, as has been said, remains merely 
one of degree. Conde may not have made deliberate 
preparation for the slaughter of over three hundred 
men, the majority of whom were reckoned as his 
supporters ; but there is no doubt that, having found 
their response less ready than he expected, he made 
practically no effort to save them from a horrible death. 
Even Mademoiselle, while admitting that both her 
father and M . le Prince gave every sign of astonishment 
on first hearing of the riot, could not account for their 
conduct to her own satisfaction. " I never spoke of 
it ", she says, " to either of them ; and I am glad to be 
in ignorance, because, if they had done wrong, I should 
not wish to know it ". Although both Princes were 
implicated, the chief share of blame rested, by universal 
consent, on Conde ; Monsieur's disposition was top well 
known for him to be looked on as the leading spirit in 
any undertaking. M. le Prince was now, more than 

1 Tavannes, Memoires. 2 Retz, Mbmoires. 


ever, the ' demon ' of the earlier Fronde ; as at that 
time no abuse was too violent, no accusation concerning 
either his public or private life too odious, to be levelled 
against him. 

The trend of popular feeling against the Princes 
was at once apparent ; but, for the moment, intimida- 
tion had done its work, and they met with no organised 
resistance. L'Hopital, forced to tender his resignation, 
was a helpless spectator, while a small section of the 
Parliament held a series of debates (July 1 5 th-2 1 st ) at the 
Palais de Justice. In the course of these meetings, a 
price was set upon Mazarin's head, and all his possessions 
at the Palais-Royal were ordered to be sold ; Monsieur 
was proclaimed " Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom " 
the office he had held during the King's minority ; 
Beaufort, Governor of Paris ; and Conde, ' Generalissime '. 
This Parliament, so called, was in truth a mere remnant, 
consisting of those members who had so far committed 
themselves to the Fronde as to preclude all hope of 
Royal favour ; the main body of counsellors, led by 
Mole, had obeyed a summons, issued by the King, to 
deliberate at Pontoise, where the Court was now in 
residence. The Prince attended regularly at the Palais 
de Justice, in spite of a renewed attack of fever. Ill- 
ness of this nature, caused mainly by the summer heat, 
and the overcrowded state of the city, was reported on 
all sides ; and Conde, leading a life of acute nervous 
strain, varied by dissipation, was not likely to escape. 
The treatment prescribed by his doctor was simple, but 
exhausting ; Caillet, the Prince's secretary, writes to 
Lenet that M. le Prince went each day, with a violent 
headache, to hear the debate, and was bled each day 
on his return. 1 The course of events allowed him little 
rest. Notwithstanding their brief triumph, it was 
evident that, both in Paris and in the provinces, the 
Princes were losing ground. Disquieting tidings came 
from Bordeaux ; Madame de Longueville and Conti 
were opposing Marsin and Lenet ; funds were exhausted, 
and the prevailing want and disorder were scarcely less 
than in Paris itself. The attempts at treating with the 
Court, after languishing for a time, were revived, with 
the inevitable train of tedious and degrading intrigues ; 
the Princes negotiated, collectively and individually ; 
the Parliament in Paris negotiated, and at the same time 

1 B.N., July 22, 1652. 


passed revolutionary decrees, which were revoked by 
the Parliament at Pontoise. Conde, though no more 
scrupulous than the rest, was less in his element, and 
felt himself at a disadvantage ; Monsieur was probably 
right in saying of him " that his cousin would rather 
have been at the head of four cavalry squadrons in 
Ardennes, than command twelve millions of the men who 
now surrounded him "- 1 One of his constant associates 
reported that " M. le Prince was so tired of hearing of 
the Parliament, the ' cours des aides ', the different 
assemblies, and the Hotel de Ville, that, as he often 
declared, his Huguenot grandfather had never been 
more bored by the preachers of La Rochelle ". The 
Parliament and the assemblies of Bordeaux had also 
to be reckoned with ; Lenet's correspondence reveals 
complications far beyond the control of Conti, who 
nominally represented M. le Prince. Domestic troubles 
find a place in these letters, as well as public affairs ; 
the want of money was felt even in the Prince's house- 
hold. Madame la Princesse was expecting the birth of 
her second child, in a few weeks' time ; the state of her 
health gave rise to great anxiety, and it seemed doubtful 
whether she could be provided with the attendance that 
her condition required. Conde 's answers show more 
solicitude than might, perhaps, have been looked for by 
those who knew his relations with his wife ; he dis- 

Eatched a doctor from Paris, and wrote of himself as 
eing ' extremement en peine ' at the accounts which 
had reached him. More than once he asks to be kept 
constantly informed : " Send me news of my wife on 
every opportunity, and spare nothing for her health or 
to save the child ". 2 Possibly this last consideration 
was the one which weighed most with him ; in such a 
marriage as his, the tie between father and child was 
far closer than that between husband and wife. 

The mistrust and dissension between the Princes 
culminated, within a month of the outrage at the Hotel 
de Ville, in two incidents ; one tragic, one scandalous 
without the dignity of tragedy ; but both alike 
calculated to bring additional disgrace on the party. 
The first was a duel, the result of long-standing dislike 
and jealousy, between Beaufort and Nemours. Since 
the time of their first open quarrel, at Orleans, no effort 
had been spared to reconcile the two brothers-in-law. 

1 Retz, Memo-ires. 2 B.N., Conde to Lenet, August 24, 1652. 


Beaufort would have relented ; but Nemours, highly 
sensitive and resentful, would give way on no point ; 
all that their friends could do to avert disaster, was to 
use every means for keeping them out of each other's 
sight. After the fight of St. Antoine, Nemours was 
supposed, for a time, to be disabled by his wound, and 
vigilance was relaxed ; but when it was known that he 
had nearly recovered, Gaston and Conde, as a pre- 
caution against immediate danger, exacted a solemn 
promise from him, as well as from Beaufort, that they 
would not meet for twenty-four hours (July 29th~3Oth). 
Nemours, however, was beyond the influence of any 
ordinary consideration of honour ; the day had not 
passed before he sent a challenge to Beaufort, couched 
in terms which made it almost impossible to refuse. 
They met a few hours later, in the Place des Petits- 
Peres, a secluded square behind the Hotel de Vendome ; 
the seconds four on each side engaged with swords, 
but the two principals fought with pistols, for Nemours 
was still uncertain of his strength. Beaufort pro- 
tested to the last, in vain ; he was forced, in self-defence 
to fire. Nemours, rushing madly forward to attack him, 
was shot through the heart, and fell dead, without a 
word ; the priest in attendance had barely time to 
pronounce an absolution. Almost at the same instant 
Conde, half-distracted, appeared upon the scene. He 
had no great reason to love Nemours ; but, through some 
sudden access of nervous emotion, the horror of the 
situation overcame him completely, whereas bloodshed, 
on most occasions, left him unmoved. The graphic 
narrative in Marigny 's letters x describes how M. le 
Prince was summoned by the news that " MM. de 
Beaufort and de Nemours had gone out together to 
fight ", and how, in desperate haste, he set out on a 
nightmare-like expedition to stop them ; how the 
coachman was found to be hopelessly drunk, and how 
Conde* " had him thrown off the box, and a valet put 
there instead " ; but only to arrive too late. Marigny 
writes as an eye-witness of what followed. He, and two 
of his friends, had been dining with the Comte de 
Bethune, and on leaving the house made a detour in 
order to pass by the place where Mazarin's effects were 
being publicly sold. As they drove past the narrow 
street leading to the Place des Petits- Peres, they met, 

1 B.N., Marigny to Lenet, July and August, 1652. 


to their astonishment, " M. le Prince, looking more dead 
than alive, and supported by one of his gentlemen ". 
The carriage was instantly stopped ; Conde flung himself 
into it, and the tragedy was explained in a few words. 
A moment later, the dead body of Nemours was borne 
past ; " and at the sight ", says Marigny, " the Prince 
begged us to take him away ". They drove to the 
Hotel de Conde, and thence, almost immediately, to the 
residence of Madame de Nemours ; for etiquette de- 
manded that M. le Prince should be among the first to 
offer condolences. The same iron rule decreed that a 
widow of high rank could know no solitude, even in her 
supreme affliction ; she must recline upon a state bed, 
surrounded by her household, to receive expressions of 
formal sympathy. Mademoiselle, used as she was to 
such publicity, declared that ' nothing could be more 
pitiable ' than the condition of the poor young Duchess, 
as she lay before them, unconscious with grief, but with 
the curtains of the bed drawn back, that she might be 
exposed to view. It was well that she knew little of 
what was passing around her ; for as will happen, at 
times, under the strain of tragic circumstance some 
ludicrously obvious remark, made by one of the com- 
pany, moved Madame de Guise, whom no one accused 
of levity, to irrepressible laughter. Mademoiselle and 
Conde followed suit, against their will ; and the visit 
had to be abruptly concluded, to save appearances. 1 

Beaufort, though as free from blame as, given the 
situation, any man could well be, was at first absolutely 
prostrated by horror and remorse ; but, it is dispas- 
sionately recorded that, (< on hearing how M. de 
Nemours had abused and threatened him, behind his 
back, on all occasions, he began to console himself ". 2 
When, after a week's interval, he appeared once more in 
public, both Gaston and Conde received him without 
comment. Even had he been far more guilty than he 
was, they could not have dispensed with his alliance, 
in the existing state of the party. The day following 
Nemours' death had been marked by the second of 
these flagrant personal disputes ; one in which Conde, 
to his dishonour, played a leading part. Some trivial 
difference, concerning what Marigny calls " this accursed 
precedence ", had arisen between La Tremoille, Prince 
de Tarente, and the Comte de Rieux, a younger son of the 

1 Montpensier, Memoires. 2 B.N., Marigny to Lenet, August 4, 1652. 

1652] CONDfi AND RIEUX 401 

House of Guise. Conde, who had warmly supported 
the cause of La Tremoille, came, that evening, to the 
Luxembourg, where Monsieur had undertaken to pro- 
nounce an arbitration. Rieux, however, had all the 
arrogance of his race ; and, being dissatisfied with the 
judgment, he refused, point-blank, to accept it, or to 
give La Tremoille the conventional " embrace " of 
reconciliation. Conde reminded him sharply that he 
was wanting in respect to Monsieur, and an angry 
altercation followed. Rieux accused the Prince of 
favouring La Tremoille 's claim ; Conde rejoined that 
he had had every intention of doing so ; and Rieux 
received this answer with a contemptuous wave of the 
hand. Conde had suffered considerably from the 
events of the day before, and neither his nerves nor his 
temper were under even ordinary control ; at this 
crowning insult, he flew upon Rieux, and cuffed him 
soundly. Rieux's action, judged by the standards of 
the time, was even more unpardonable. He returned 
the blow, striking the Prince on the shoulder, and then 
made as though to draw his sword ; Conde closed with 
him ; but, at this point, they were separated by the 
horrified spectators, and Rieux was placed under arrest. 
Monsieur, instead of asserting his authority, had with- 
drawn hurriedly, at the first sign of combat. So heinous 
was the crime of having actually struck the First Prince 
of the Blood, and of having done so under the very 
roof of ' a son of France ', that, in spite of the provoca- 
tion he had received, Rieux was universally looked on 
as the chief offender. By Monsieur's order, he was 
forthwith committed to the Bastille ; while Conde's 
household, for the most part, marvelled at the generosity 
of His Highness, whom a latent sense of justice caused 
to make efforts for his enemy's early release. Lenet 
showed more perception than the rest when he wrote, 
briefly and frankly, to the Prince : " Point de compli- 
ment sur 1 'affaire Rieux ". Conde himself was 
half ashamed of the incident, and half inclined to treat 
it as a joke : " You see a man who has been beaten for 
the first time ", he announced to Mademoiselle, on their 
next meeting. Rieux was soon at liberty ; but the 
scandal caused by the affray lasted far longer than his 
imprisonment. The counsellor Omer Talon expressed 
the opinion of all classes when he wrote that he was 
' utterly confounded by such an occurrence ' ; and that 


though, in itself, it had only been caused by ' the heat 
of two fierce and impetuous spirits ', yet he could not 
but consider it as ' an evil portent for the future ) . 1 

Mazarin, informed by confidential agents, marked 
each stage of the Princes' loss of power. Early in 
August he determined, after weeks of fruitless negotia- 
tion, on a bold and decisive step ; one which, while 
outwardly allowing his enemies to triumph, yet in 
reality did more than overt opposition to weaken 
their cause. He accepted a sentence of dismissal, pro- 
nounced, at his own instigation, by the King, in answer 
to the request of the Parliament of Pontoise ; and with- 
drew from the Court, travelling, by slow stages, towards 
the German frontier. His banishment, as he pointed 
out to the King and Queen, need be no more than 
temporary ; while, as a diplomatic stroke, it would 
secure them two notable advantages. In the first 
place, the one common aim shared by the Princes, the 
Parliament, and the people, would be definitely disposed 
of ; in the second place, the rebels, if they continued 
hostilities, must acknowledge themselves to be making 
war on their King, and on him alone. The cry of " Vive 
le Roi ! et point de Mazarin ! " would be robbed of all 
significance. Mazarin states his own motives clearly, 
in a letter written on August 4th, to Raulin, one of his 
agents : ' If the question of my banishment is the 
strongest weapon of the Princes, it rests only with me 
to disarm them, and I have no great difficulty in making 
the resolve ; more especially since the Spaniards are 
bent on prolonging the disorders in this country, so as 
to pursue their own advantage elsewhere. My with- 
drawal will check their designs ; either by at once 
establishing peace all over France, or by promoting a 
general coalition against M. le Prince " 2 

The Cardinal's policy alternated,, as in the earlier 
stages of the Fronde, between two courses : that of 
conciliating the Prince a hard task, however resolutely 
undertaken ; and that of forming some such ' general 
coalition ', than which few matters were easier. There 
were still moments when the former course was strongly 
advocated. " I hold that an agreement with M. le 
Prince is to be preferred above all things, since it will 
put an end to disturbance throughout the kingdom ", 
so Mazarin wrote to Le Tellier, when the Prince's foreign 

1 Talon, Memoires. * Correspondance de Mazarin. 


allies seemed about to fulfil their promises " To obtain 
such a blessing, I think we shall do well to let ourselves 
be cheated on some points M . 1 If, on the other hand, 
" nothing can be done with M. le Prince ", the only 
hope is to isolate him ; " no endeavour must be spared 
to separate him from Monsieur". The whole question, 
in Mazarin's opinion, turned upon whether the Prince 
was actuated by a sincere wish to be at peace with the 
Crown ; or whether the negotiations were merely to 
provide him with a threat, to hold over the heads of 
his Spanish allies. Conde's actual feelings did not, as 
far as can be judged, reach either of these two extremes. 
He would have preferred peace, if made on his own terms, 
to a continuation of the war ; he even undertook to 
countenance Mazarin's return, if this step would assure 
him the conditions he asked, for himself, for his friends, 
and for the King of Spain, to whom he was bound ; 
but he would fight to the death, sooner than accept an 
agreement dictated by the Cardinal. Neither the per- 
suasions of Madame de Chatillon, nor his own inherent 
distaste for rebellion, availed against this resolve. 
The King, swayed by his natural inclinations, as well as 
by his mother's influence, showed no eagerness to 
conciliate any rebel, from M. le Prince downwards. On 
August 22nd, when Mazarin was safely on the road to 
Bouillon, the Princes volunteered to lay down their 
arms, if the King, in return, would grant an amnesty 
to his subjects, and send his troops back to the frontier. 
Louis consented to publish an amnesty (August 25th), 
and gave the Princes three days in which to consider 
its acceptance ; but he refused to receive the emissaries 
whom they would have sent to treat in their name, and 
the letter of expostulation sent by M. le Prince was not 
even read ; the King's message was simply to the effect 
that " it was no time for treating, but for submission ". 
Conde had no thought of humbling himself ; he imposed 
his will upon Monsieur, and the amnesty was refused. 
The condition which Mazarin opposed most strenuously, 
of all those named by the Princes, was that which de- 
manded absolute power for them to conclude a treaty 
between France and Spain ; z the Cardinal's foreign 

[^l l September 19, 1652. 

2 Among other conditions were : that the Princes and all their followers 
should resume whatever official posts they had held before the war ; that 
Nemours should be made Governor of Auvergne ; that La Rochefoucauld 


policy was his strongest point, and he foresaw ruin, if 
such a matter were to be left in the hands of Conde 
and of Gaston. He represents forcibly to Le Tellier 
the necessity of checking Conde 's dealings with other 
powers, and especially with England ; where as they 
both knew well, the Prince's agents had been for some 
months secretly at work. "It is of the first importance 
that we should conclude a treaty with the English, 
lest they declare for the Prince ; for there can be no 
doubt that he is using every means to win them, nor 
that, in his present rage, he would have recourse even 
to the Turks, if he thought they could serve him " ! l 

Meanwhile Conde 's followers made merry over the 
Cardinal's journey, and sang : 

" Pelerin, beau pelerm, 
Remettez-vous en chemin ". 

The Prince himself summed up the situation to Gramont, 
from whom he had few secrets, in a letter entirely 
characteristic of the man who " lived without fixed 
(political) design, from one day to another ", 2 and 
whose personal inclinations were more to him than any 
affairs of state. Gramont could only maintain his neutral 
attitude by self-imposed banishment from Paris, and 
it was many months since they had met : "I think ", 
wrote the Prince, " that our friendship is too old, 
and too close, for us to live as we do now, and not feel 
great grief ". Nothing can be spoken of with certainty 
for the future ; " but ", he continues, " in spite of 
everything, I try to amuse myself, and not to be more 
bored than is needful. I do not know if we shall have 
peace ; if we do, you must make ready to come here, 
without delay, or else I shall set out to fetch you from 
Bidache. You know how I wish to see you I have 
never wished it so much but we have to do with a 
pilgrim who will only retire and parry, who ruins every- 
one, and will end by ruining himself. I beg of you to 
show this letter to no one, but to keep it for yourself ". 
That the private friendship of which Conde speaks had 
not suffered, is shown, not only by the tone of the corre- 
spondence, but also by the fact that Gramont 's eldest 

should be granted a brevet of " due et pair ", together with a large sum of 
money, and the Governorship of Saintonge, or of Angoumois ; and that 
Marsin should be a Marshal of France. 

1 Mazarin to Le Tellier, August 31. 2 Lenet ; see Chapter XI. 


son, the young Comte de Quiche, 1 was often a guest at 
the Hotel de Conde. ' I cannot help telling you ", 
the letter concludes, " that M. de Quiche is full of 
intelligence, that he is exactly like you to look at, and 
that I think you will be satisfied with him in every 
way ". 2 

Conde, rightly or wrongly, left the chief management 
of negotiations to Rohan and Chavigny ; his own atten- 
tion was given, by preference, to the movements of 
the Royalist army outside Paris. The Court, still pur- 
suing a nomadic existence, was temporarily established 
at Nantes ; while Turenne 's forces were encamped on 
the banks of the Oise. 

The army of the Princes was in no state to take 
the offensive ; the day of St. Antoine had reduced their 
strength by hundreds ; and illness and desertions 
had wrought havoc among them in the time since spent 
under the walls of Paris. But Conde and his allies, 
when they rejected the King's amnesty, were not de- 
pending solely on this force of less than four thousand 
men. Duke Charles, regardless of his latest promise, 
had renewed alliance with the Princes, and was marching 
to their support from the frontier. His army was 
further strengthened by a German contingent, under 
Duke Ulrich of Wurtemburg, the ally of Spain. Conde, 
receiving these tidings, joined his own troops at Villejuif 
on September 5th ; and on the following day, effected 
a junction with the Duke, a few miles to the south- 
west of Paris, at Limeil. Turenne had meanwhile 
advanced across the Marne, and was occupying a strong 
position at Villeneuve, on the Seine. Had the direction 
of the campaign rested with Conde alone, there can be 
scarcely a doubt that he would have attacked Turenne 
with as little delay as possible ; but it was one matter 
to join forces with the Duke, and another to persuade 
him to action. In a skirmish which took place on 
September 7th, the Prince found himself indifferently 
supported, and the enemy secured an important line 
of communication across the Seine. Some open re- 
monstrance seems to have followed ; since Caillet, 
writing five days later, expresses the belief that ' a 

1 Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche ; afterwards a brilliant 
courtier, and well known for his romantic attachment to Henriette, 
Duchesse d'Orleans. 

Z A.C., August 24, 1652, 


reconciliation ' between the Duke and M. le Prince is 
about to take place ; and that, if so much can be 
achieved, all will go well. 1 In spite of this sanguine 
forecast, no definite result was obtained. Days passed, 
and the allies, instead of carrying the enemy's position 
by assault, fell back on the less vigorous design of cutting 
off all supplies from the camp of Villeneuve, in the hope 
of starving the Royalists from their post. 

Conde was forced to curb his impatience ; while the 
Duke, securely independent, visited Paris, and made 
burlesque apologies to Mademoiselle for his former 
desertion. On his return to camp, he insisted that she 
should accompany him, to inspect the troops ; he sent 
word to the Prince to prepare for her entertainment, 
reminding him, in particular, to see to the provisions, 
" for the way is long enough to give the ladies an 
appetite ". 2 Mademoiselle accepted willingly ; never 
happier than when she could gratify her military 
tastes. Her only precaution was that of filling every 
seat in her coach with a guest of her own choosing ; 
and in this she succeeded so well that when, as was 
expected, Madame de Chatillon asked to be of the party, 
there was no difficulty in presenting an excuse. 
Rumour had been busy, of late, coupling Mademoiselle's 
name with that of the Prince ; the news that Madame 
la Princesse was seriously ill, had been enough for the 
gossips of the Luxembourg, who set about appointing 
her successor. Chavigny had not scrupled to speak 
openly on the subject : " We are talking of the poor 
Princess's illness, and of remarrying M. le Prince ", 
he said, on one occasion, with such significance that 
Mademoiselle could not hide her confusion. As a rule, 
however, she supported hints of this kind with equan- 
imity. Her nature was not sensitive ; and Conde, both 
as a man and as a Prince, pleased her far better than 
any of the foreign suitors assigned to her. The day 
spent in his camp, she describes with the keenest enjoy- 
ment. On her arrival, M. le Prince came out to meet 
her, with three hundred of the cavalry of Lorraine, 
resplendent in steel cuirasses ; the Prince himself, to 
the amazement of all beholders, ' fort ajuste ' in his 
buff coat, blue scarf, and white linen collar. That he 
should make any effort whatever at personal adorn- 

1 B.N., Caillet to Lenet, September 12, 1652, 
? 4.C., September 18, 


merit, was so unwonted that his guests complimented 
him, with one voice, on his appearance ; he excused 
himself for it, ' as though for a crime ', saying that the 
foreign officers had complained of his usual equipment, 
and had pronounced it unworthy of his rank. The 
Duke's suggestions for the preparation of a feast, 
proved to have been admirably carried out. The 
only untoward incident that occurred was when, during 
dinner, Mademoiselle disclosed the fact that Madame 
de Chatillon had wished to join them ; and Conde, think- 
ing that the name had been introduced to mock him, 
made, for an instant, * une terrible mine ' ; but the 
cloud soon passed, and was forgotten. Turenne had 
been warned of the Princess's visit, and had sent a 
message to the effect that all hostilities should be suspended 
while she was present ; so that she was able to ride 
in safety through the whole camp. She even wished 
to visit the enemy as well ; and persisted in this in- 
tention until Conde rode up, and turned her horse back 
by the bridle ; an arbitrary measure, which she would 
certainly have resented from any less privileged person. 
It was moonlight before her inspection was completed ; 
her departure was attended with much ceremony, and 
the Prince, as a final compliment, asked her to choose 
the pass-words for that night and the next. Mademoi- 
selle's imagination did not soar above the obvious ; 
she chose for the first night, ' Saint Louis ' and 
1 Paris ' ; for the second, ' Sainte Anne ' (her own 
patron saint) and t Orleans '. Conde rallied her on this 
second choice : "I knew you would name that saint, 
before all the others in Paradise ", he said ; " and 
that town, before all others in France. If I ever make 
war against you, and if I only need the countersign for 
two days, I shall pass everywhere, you may be sure ". 1 

Mademoiselle drove back to Paris in high spirits, 
little thinking that she had played a leading part for 
the last time in a military pageant. The days of the 
Prince's party were numbered ; only a complete victory 
over the Royalist forces could have saved their cause. 
Mazarin's departure had produced the expected result, 
and the signs of a loyal reaction were daily growing 
more marked. The hostility of the Parisians towards 
the Lorrainers was no longer controlled ; Duke Charles 
himself, on one of his visits to the city, narrowly escaped 

1 Montpensier, Mtmoires. 


death at the hands of the mob. As the allied army 
still hesitated, and as Turenne, helped by stray convoys 
which escaped the enemy, seemed to have no thought 
of yielding, the Cardinal's letters of instruction took a 
more confident tone ; he urged less conciliation towards 
M. le Prince, and more towards his fellow-rebels ; the 
King's anxiety to show mercy to the great mass of his 
subjects was to be insisted on. Conde was to be 
isolated ; and, to achieve this end, little was needed, 
save to offer pardon, on easy terms, to the other leaders 
of the party ; no ties of honour, or of friendship, held 
the last remnants of the Fronde together. Mazarin's 
policy served him well ; but he was further helped by 
a circumstance which even he had not foreseen. In 
the latter part of September, the question of an attack 
on Turenne was finally disposed of, by Conde falling ill, 
once more, and being forced to relinquish his command. 
He came to Paris on the morning of September 25th, 
intending to return to his post the same day. The 
main object of his visit was to investigate a charge made 
against Chavigny, of treating secretly, on Monsieur's 
behalf, with the Court ; and a stormy interview took 
place at the Luxembourg, nearly ending in an open 
breach between the two Princes. ' You would never 
have come into Paris, but for me ", Gaston had the 
effrontery to declare. " That is as may be ", Conde 
retorted ; " but, if you gave me Paris, I gave you fifteen 
thousand men to hold it ". Monsieur protested that 
he himself had furnished troops, and summoned the 
Duke of Lorraine : " Your troops are very few ", 
answered the Prince, " and as for M. de Lorraine, it 
was only out of regard for me that he ever left Brussels. 
But I see how it is ; you wish us to separate, and each 
one to decide on a course for himself ! " l Later in 
the day, a reconciliation was effected ; but the excite- 
ment of the quarrel seems to have acted as a finish- 
ing touch. Conde, leaving the Palace, was met by 
Mademoiselle, who asked him, gaily, if she should see 
him at a reception that was being given, in her honour, 
by the Comtesse de Choisy ; in answer, he told her that 
he was " almost dead with a headache ", and could 
not go back to camp, still less take part in an entertain- 
ment. Mademoiselle, disappointed by his refusal, had 
curiosity enough to send, later, to the Hotel de Conde, 

1 B.N., Marigny to Lenet, September 29, 1652. 


and assure herself that the excuse was genuine ; the 
result satisfied her, for she learnt that M. le Prince 
had taken to his bed. 1 More than a fortnight passed 
before he was able to take the field again ; a space of 
time he could ill afford to lose. Turenne had noted 
that his enemies were not making use of their advantage ; 
and the news that Conde had left the camp gave him 
still greater assurance. He seized his opportunity on 
the night of October 4th ; threw a bridge of boats 
across the Seine ; and next day retreated in safety 
upon Corbeil. 

Conde 's illness did not incline him to leniency ; no 
excuses could alter his opinion that the Royalists 
could, and ought to, have been attacked and routed as 
they withdrew from Villeneuve ; he knew the superi- 
ority of his own side in numbers, and, till that moment, 
had confidently hoped for victory. " Send bridles for 
Tavannes and Valon ", he said, " they are no better 
than asses ! " 2 Towards Tavannes, in particular, he 
showed himself so merciless, that the Count, for the 
first time, wavered in his allegiance. The method 
which the Prince had long employed, in dealing with 
his followers, never served him worse than at this 
crisis. If they failed in duty, he was harsh almost 
beyond bearing ; if as was sometimes unavoidable 
he could not fulfil the demands for favours made upon 
him, he disappointed their hopes without the smallest 
compunction ; and, in no case, would he brook their 
resentment. " If you want to sulk, go and do it 
elsewhere ! " 3 he was believed to' have said to Chavag- 
nac, for all apology, after some offence. Chavagnac 
departed, obediently, but returned no more. So 
terrible, by all accounts, was the wrath of M. le Prince, 
on occasion, that the death of Chavigny, which occurred 
in the moment of his disfavour, was attributed, more 
or less directly, to the treatment he received, on pre- 
senting himself at the Hotel de Conde. He came, in 
all ignorance of the charge made against him, to discuss 
the latest answers from the Court ; and the Prince, 
though still unable to leave his bed, turned on him in 
a frenzy of anger, with unmeasured reproaches and 
abuse. Chavigny withdrew, entirely overcome ; on 
returning to his own house, he was seized by a fever, 

1 Montpensier, Memoir es. 2 Ibid. 

3 Chavagnac, M&moires. 


which must have been latent in his system, but which 
the shock, no doubt, did much to aggravate. He 
died after a few days' illness ; thereby taking a more 
effective revenge than any he could have devised for 
himself ; his long adherence to the House of Conde 
was well known, and the ingratitude and heartlessness 
of M. le Prince were blamed on all sides. That an agent 
should seek protection in certain independent negotia- 
tions was, in the prevailing state of politics, scarcely 
more than natural ; a more disinterested, or more 
capable emissary than Chavigny, was not likely to be 
soon forthcoming. 1 Conde, hearing of his extremity, 
felt some remorse ; and, being himself convalescent, 
went in person to visit the dying man. It was too 
late to offer reparation, for Chavigny was already 
unconscious. His family gained what consolation they 
might from seeing the Prince give unmistakable signs 
of grief ; but it was afterwards reported that, as he 
left the room, he made no other comment than, " II est 
laid en diable ". 2 

That same day (October nth) an elaborate ' fete ' 
music, supper, and a comedy was given by the Com- 
tesse de Fiesque, lady-in-waiting to Mademoiselle. 
Conde was present ; and the fact strengthened the 
impression of his unfeelingness, although he was clearly 
in no festive humour. Mademoiselle observed him, 
morose, haggard, and deplorably unkempt, refusing to 
eat, drink, or be amused. When the time came for 
the comedy, he took a seat behind hers, in the place of 
one of the officers of her household, saying : "I will 
be Captain of the Guard to Mademoiselle ; I am old, 
and ill ; I am not going to show myself, and prove my 
right to wear a hat in this company ". Madame de 
Fiesque could only lament the failure of her efforts. 
Duke Charles, who was also a guest, appeared, for once, 
scarcely more genial than the Prince ; and the verdict 
passed on the entertainment was " that there had 
never been a prettier fte, nor one which gave less enjoy- 
ment ". 3 

1 La Rochefoucauld suggests that Chavigny acted on orders given by 
the Prince, and subsequently denied by him, for reasons of policy. But 
this grave charge against Conde may be said to be disproved by Marigny's 
confidential letter to Lenet (B.N., September 29, 1652), which states 
clearly that the Prince was ignorant of Chavigny's proceedings. 

2 Motteville, Memoires. 

3 Montpensier, Memoires. 


Conjecture was just then at its height, with regard 
to the futures of Mademoiselle and M. le Prince. On 
September 2Oth, Madame la Princesse had given birth 
to a son ; the lives of both mother and child had, at 
one time, been despaired of ; and, though the Princess 
had rallied, her recovery seemed more than doubtful. 
The first news of the event had reached Paris when 
Conde was prostrated by illness ; Mademoiselle sent 
him her formal congratulations on the birth of a Prince ; 
and received, in answer, a somewhat curt message that 
11 there was no cause for rejoicing, as the child could 
not live ". M. le Prince acknowledged Lenet's announce- 
ment in the course of a long and characteristic dispatch ; 
which, since he was too ill to write himself, he dictated 
to Guitaut. After detailed instructions, to be trans- 
mitted to Marsin, for the payment and provisioning of 
the troops in Guyenne ; after many comments on the 
political situation in Bordeaux, and a recommendation 
to Conti to " pay more attention than is his habit to 
such affairs ", there follows, at length : " I heard the 
news of my wife's confinement with joy ; which would 
be complete if she were in better health, and her child 
more likely to live ; I entreat her to be careful of 
herself ". Directions are given that the godparents of 
the little Prince are to be " my sister, and the representa- 
tives of the town ". " As for his title, I think he 
should be called the Due de Bourbon, 1 according to 
your advice, and that of all my friends ; as for his 
Christian name, I wish it to be Louis ; and since, in 
the war of Paris, my sister gave the name of Paris to 
the little Comte de St. Paul, I think we should do well, 
in this case, to add the name of Bordeaux ". 2 Louis- 
Bordeaux, Due de Bourbon, lived seven months in 
possession of his honours. 3 Madame la Princesse, by 
slow degrees, struggled back to comparative health ; 
and the cold-blooded speculations of her contemporaries 
were perforce at an end. 

During his illness and convalescence, Conde" had 
reviewed his position, and had come finally to a 
momentous resolve. " He decided ", in the words of 

1 The bestowal of this title was an act of defiance ; Henri n of Conde 
had ceded it to the Royal branch, in exchange for the dukedom of Albret. 

2 B.N., September 30, 1652. 

3 " V(otre) A(ltesse) recevra par cet ordinaire une fort fascheuse nou- 
velle, puisque nous avons perdu M. le due de Bourbon " (A.C., Lenet to 
Conde, April, 1653). 


one of his most intimate friends and followers, " to 
throw himself into the arms of the Spaniards, rather 
than trust his fortunes to a Minister whose ill-will 
towards him was well known ". 1 On the day following 
Madame de Fiesque's reception, it was known that 
M. le Prince was leaving Paris forthwith ; and, with 
what troops remained to him, would either take up 
his winter quarters on the Oise, or retreat to join the 
Spanish forces on the northern frontier. This with- 
drawal, explain it as they might, was equivalent to an 
admission that the Princes were abandoning their hold 
on Paris. They could no longer conceal from them- 
selves, or from their followers, the fact that the King 
would only need to appear before the city gates, to 
receive a loyal welcome. Monsieur, left to himself, 
asked nothing better to do than to tender his sub- 
mission ; he was tired of rebellion, of his wife's tears, 
and Retz's political discourses ; more than all, of 
Conde 's tyranny. In his private negotiations with 
the Court, he had declared himself willing, and even 
anxious, to detach his interests from those of the Prince. 
If Mazarin's letters are to be believed, Conde, for his 
part, had repeatedly threatened to ' planter la Son 
Altesse Royale ' as he said and retire to Spain, 
or to the Spanish camp ; 2 and now that the design 
was to be actually carried out, Monsieur was probably 
more conscious of relief than of any other feeling. 
Conde seems to have been actuated partly by pride, 
partly by over-confidence in his Spanish allies ; partly 
also, it was affirmed, by a wish to emulate the Duke of 
Lorraine, whose position, half Prince, half adventurer, 
at the head of an independent army, appealed strongly 
to his tastes. 3 This landless sovereign, gifted, as a 
soldier, with only moderate talents, could make 
monarchs wait upon his pleasure ; M. le Prince may 
well have thought that what was easy for a Duke of 
Lorraine, should not be impossible for a Prince of Conde. 
No word passed between the Princes to the effect 
that their separation was likely to be final. Monsieur, 
needless to say, found no difficulty in promising that 
he would refuse any agreement with the Court which 
did not include M. le Prince. Conde carried the matter 

1 Henri de la Tremoille, Prince de Tarente, Memoires. 
z Mazarin to Le Tellier, August 23. 
3 La Rochefoucauld, M&moires. 

1 6 5 2] CONDfi LEAVES PARIS 413 

through with a high hand ; he made his farewells 
lightly, professing himself entirely satisfied with His 
Royal Highness 's assurances, and foretelling a speedy 
return. " We must try and do something noteworthy, 
while the fine weather lasts ", he said to Mademoiselle ; 
11 then when we have put the troops into winter quarters, 
we will come back to amuse ourselves. We have had 
trouble enough ; we must have pleasure soon ". 1 
Mademoiselle kept a vivid impression of the scene of 
the Prince's departure ; the broad walk in the Tuileries 
gardens, thronged with brilliantly-clad figures " for 
it was the season when new clothes were first worn 
for the winter " ; Conde in " a very fine grey coat, 
embroidered in scarlet, gold, silver, and black ", with 
the blue scarf of the party worn across, * a 1'allemande '. 
He and Duke Charles took their leave of the Princess 
together ; she confesses that she wept to think how 
dull and lonely life would seem, when they were gone. 
She had indeed good reason for tears ; no one stood 
more deeply committed as a rebel than this heroine of 
Orleans and of St. Antoine, who was now left practically 
defenceless, while the King's triumphant return to his 
capital was anticipated on every side. From Monsieur, 
she had nothing to hope ; he was bent solely on exoner- 
ating himself in the eyes of the Court, and felt no shame 
at casting off his daughter, after making use of her 
courage and energy on occasions when his own had 
failed him. Three or four days later, Mademoiselle 
was assured, beyond all doubt, that His Royal Highness 
had treated secretly with the Court, and had made 
terms for himself, without reference to any other 
member of the party. As a last resort, she went herself 
to the Luxembourg, and demanded an explanation ; 
Monsieur answered that he was not responsible to her 
for any measures he chose to take ; that she had ignored 
his advice, and that he no longer wished to hear any- 
thing of her affairs. She might go where she liked ; 
he himself, with the rest of his family, was leaving the 
Luxembourg, at the Royal command, for the Castle of 
Blois, but he forbade her to accompany them. The 
King was at St. Germain, making preparations for his 
entry into Paris ; Mademoiselle had already received 
a notice to vacate her lodging in the Tuileries, and was 
forced to throw herself on the hospitality of private 
1 Montpensier, Memoires. 


friends. For some days she was actually in hiding, 
sheltered by a relation of one of her ladies ; then, as 
soon as the journey could be arranged, she travelled, 
in disguise, to her own castle of St. Fargeau, a long- 
deserted residence in Anjou, where she spent many 
dreary months of exile. 

Conde had not been mistaken when he prophesied, 
at Montrond, that he would be ' the last to sheathe the 
sword ' . Seven years were to pass before Paris received 
him again ; years which he spent fighting as the enemy 
of France, and which some of his countrymen have 
wished to see blotted out altogether from his career. 
Yet it may safely be said that, from most points of 
view, the Prince's reputation suffers less in the Spanish 
war than in the degrading and self-seeking struggles of 
the Fronde. The record of these years is one of failure 
and misfortune deserved, indeed, but none the less 
disheartening ; and, to meet these reverses, Conde 
summoned to his aid the full strength of his higher 
qualities ; proving, by degrees, his courage in adversity as 
well as in danger. It was the history of the Netherlands 
campaigns, from the close of the Fronde to the battle 
of the Dunes, which justified St. fivremond in writing 
as he did of the Prince's military fame : " Pour M. le 
Prince victorieux, le plus grand eclat de la gloire ; pour 
M. le Prince malheureux, jamais de honte ! " l When 
Conde set out for the Spanish camp, the truth of the 
first statement had long since been established ; that 
of the second, was soon to be proved. 

1 Parallele entre M. le Prince et le Vicomte de Turenne. 



THE first six weeks that passed after Conde's departure 
from Paris gave him greater promise of success than 
was ever destined to be fulfilled. With Duke Charles, 
he joined the troops near Senlis, on October i4th ; 
and from thence marched northwards, to where 
Fuensaldagna l awaited him at Crecy-sur-Serre . From 
the first, the French and Spanish commanders seem 
to have felt a strong mutual antipathy; the coldness 
with which they greeted each other was noted by their 
followers as a bad omen for the future. Fuensaldagna 's 
natural instinct, as well as his instructions from the 
Spanish Government, disposed him to see lions in the 
way, and he offered steady opposition to the suggestion, 
made by M. le Prince, that they should begin operations 
by securing the frontier towns of Picardy. After much 
discussion the scheme was abandoned ; but Conde, 
thwarted in one direction, turned his efforts against 
the fortresses of Champagne. With little help from 
his Spanish allies, he seized, in rapid succession, Rethel, 
Ste. Menehould, Bar-le-Duc, and some half-dozen 
smaller places, thus providing a base of operations for a 
campaign on the Aisne. Turenne, on whom depended 
all hope of checking the enemy's progress, could not 
forsake the neighbourhood of Pans till he had seen 
the King safely within the walls of the capital, and 
some degree of public order restored ; but the loyal 
acclamations which greeted the entry of the Court 

1 Alonzo Perez de Vivero, Count of Fuensaldagna, served Philip iv 
of Spain both as a General and as a diplomat. One of his subordinates, 
the Baron de Woerden, describes him as ' homme d'une extreme probite, 
froid, pas communicatif, mais dont Tamitie, une fois donnee, ne se de- 
mentait pas '. 



(October 2ist) left no doubt as to the temper of the 
citizens. Ten days later the Royalist forces left their 
quarters at Compiegne and marched for the eastern 
frontier, halting at Vitry-le-Francois. Here, tidings 
met them of the fall of Bar-le-Duc, after a fortnight's 
siege ; Rethel, a still more important stronghold, had 
capitulated, at the first summons, on October 3Oth ; 
and Ste. Menehould, after some resistance, on November 
1 3th. Turenne had hoped to save Bar-le-Duc ; he 
was cheered, however, by information that the Spanish 
army was no longer supporting M. le Prince in Cham- 
pagne, and that therefore, in the case of a general 
action, the Royalists would not find themselves out- 
numbered. Their forces were insignificant compared 
to the united strength of the Spaniards, the Lorrainers, 
and the rebel French, and Turenne had not set forth 
on the campaign with any expectation of defeating his 
enemies in the open field ; but before leaving Paris 
he had told the King, with characteristic diffidence, 
that " he hoped at least to prevent M. le Prince from 
taking up his winter quarters on the French side of the 
frontier ". 

Conde received early warning of Turenne 's march 
from Compiegne, as well as of other important events ; 
he had left, in Paris, several of his more obscure 
adherents, who could keep him informed without draw- 
ing attention to themselves. From them he learned of 
the King's return, and of a new amnesty offered to all 
Princes who would tender their submission within three 
days from that date ; of Monsieur's banishment, not- 
withstanding his submission, and of how Beaufort had 
shared his fate ; while Retz was reported to be 
expending himself in efforts to win favour at Court. 
News came, also, of Mademoiselle's forlorn condition, 
and the Prince wrote, in his own name and that of his 
allies, to offer her shelter in any one of their fortresses ; 
but though she found some consolation in the letter, 
the risks of such a position were too great even for 
her adventurous spirit. During the siege of Ste. 
Menehould a final proof was given of Monsieur's eager- 
ness to prove his loyalty to the King ; an officer arrived 
from Paris, with orders from His Royal Highness to the 
regiments bearing the titles of the House of Orleans, 1 

1 Each Prince of the Blood exercised special rights over certain regi- 
ments raised in his name, and partly maintained by him. During the war, 


that they were to withdraw immediately from the 
Prince's service. The same officer was charged with a 
special message to Conde, by which Monsieur advised 
him to profit by his example, and to return to their 
rightful allegiance, instead of " favouring the pernicious 
designs of the Spaniards ". " Pray thank Monsieur 
for his good counsel ", answered the Prince, " and tell 
him that, as I and my friends are well aware of how 
the King has treated him, we will indeed profit by 
his example ". l The troops in question were actively 
engaged in the siege, and, while it lasted, the officers 
flatly refused to leave their posts. On the day that the 
terms of the capitulation were signed (November i6th), 
the greater number bade farewell to M. le Prince ' with 
all the regret imaginable ', and prepared to leave the 
camp. One regiment, however, had been raised in the 
name of Mademoiselle, and among its officers was a 
certain Comte de Hollac, a German by birth, who held 
himself responsible to her alone. (< Go and join His 
Royal Highness, since you belong to him " ; he said to 
the rest, when the troops were drawn up in marching 
order, " I shall stay here, and so will the companies of 
' Mademoiselle ' ". With these words, he marched back 
into camp at the head of his men, and was promptly 
followed by a second regiment, whose commanding 
officer excused himself to the messenger, saying that 
he felt able to be of more use to the Prince than to 
Monsieur. 2 Mademoiselle was subsequently commanded 
by her father to recall Hollac, and her sense of filial 
duty still prevailed so far that an order was written 
and dispatched ; but Hollac interpreted the spirit 
rather than the letter, and firmly, though respectfully, 
declined to obey the summons. 

The capitulation of Bar-le-Duc was swiftly followed 
by the fall of three lesser fortresses : Ligny, Void, and 
Commercy ; but Turenne was bent on fulfilling his 
word to the King, and the tide of fortune was soon to 
turn against Conde. He had experienced Fuensaldagna's 
powers of passive resistance, and he now learned that 
opposition was also to be looked for from the Archduke 
Leopold, who still held the post of Viceroy of the Nether- 
additional regiments had been raised by the Princes, and were also called 
by their names. Tavannes speaks of Monsieur's troops as four regiments 
of infantry and eight of cavalry. 

1 Tavannes, MSmoires. 2 Montpensier, Memoires. 



lands. The Spaniards had not failed to profit by the 
late disturbances in France ; during the four years that 
had passed since the campaign of Lens, they had won 
back Dunkirk, Mardyck, and Gravelines. In the treaty 
signed by Conde with Philip iv of Spain, it was agreed 
that all places won by the allies in Flanders, or on the 
seaboard, should be yielded to His Catholic Majesty, 
while those on French territory inland were to be left 
in the hands of the Prince ; an obviously injudicious 
arrangement, which could only result in a division of 
interests. The Archduke's aim was to strengthen 
Spanish possessions along the coast ; he was well aware 
that Conde, if allowed a free hand as Commander-in- 
Chief, might soon create such a position for himself as 
would enable him to defy their agreement, and to treat 
independently with France. Fuensaldagna, deliberate 
by nature, and steeped in the conventions of the Spanish 
army, was admirably fitted to carry out the Viceroy's 
designs ; his opinion of Conde 's energetic methods was 
expressed in the proverb, which he was heard to quote 
concerning him, to the effect that the ' seiior principe ' 
knew how to ride a borrowed horse. 1 Immediately 
after the capitulation of Ste. Menehould, the Spanish 
forces were withdrawn, by the Archduke's order, into 
Flanders. Conde, even though supported by the 
army of Lorraine, was not prepared for a general action ; 
Fuensaldagna 's withdrawal had left him with scarcely 
any infantry at his disposal ; and the troops that 
remained to him had been for many months on active 
service, insufficiently paid and fed. Disputes were rife 
among his officers, most of whom felt themselves at 
liberty to quit the army on the smallest provocation ; 
even Tavannes, after patiently enduring many hard 
words from the Prince, resigned his commission sooner 
.than serve second to La Tremoille. Turenne, rein- 
forced by troops from Picardy, and knowing well 
the condition of his enemy's forces, pressed him hard. 
The Prince, contrary to his wont, was anxious to avoid 
a pitched battle ; he retreated along the frontier, seek- 
ing an advantageous position, but finding none, and 
before a hard winter put an end to the campaign, he 
was driven beyond French territory across the borders 
of Luxembourg. 

Turenne had been as good as his word ; but his 

1 Choisy, M&moires. 

i653] MAZARIN IN CAMP 419 

labours were not yet ended. Further reinforcements 
were at hand, drawn from the fortresses of the German 
frontier ; and at their head, despite his aversion to 
warlike enterprises, was Mazarin himself. It was 
thus that the Cardinal took the first step towards his 
return to Paris. Once in camp, he was fired by the 
most unlooked-for zeal ; Turenne could not content him 
until three fortresses Bar-le-Duc, Ligny, and Chateau- 
Porcien had been wrested from the enemy. Conde, 
failing to relieve Bar-le-Duc, marched once more across 
the frontier, and seized Vervins ; which fortress was, 
however, retaken by Turenne a few weeks later. Then, 
,at length, when this last exploit was accomplished, 
Mazarin felt that the time had come when he might 
enter Paris with safety. The Fronde was crushed 
out of existence. Retz, its last representative, had been 
arrested, despite all his efforts at conciliation, and was 
now safely lodged at Vincennes. In the first days of 
February, the young King joyfully received his Minister ; 
for both, a moment of triumph almost unalloyed. 
Those friends of Conde who were still in Paris, could only 
console themselves by jeering at the martial airs 
assumed by the Cardinal since his late achievements. 
" He has brought back moustaches twisted up to his 
ears ", wrote Marigny ; " he thinks he has made the 
greatest campaign that ever was known, and one which 
will entirely destroy the reputation of M. le Prince ". l 

While the allied troops occupied their winter quarters 
in Luxembourg, Conde retired to his own fortress of 
Stenay, where he was forced to take several weeks of 
complete rest. Ill-health was not the least difficulty 
he had to contend with during his years of exile, and 
the strain of the past months had told on him severely. 
The reports sent by his followers, from different parts 
of the country, did little to cheer his seclusion. From 
Paris came news of humiliations which, however con- 
fidently anticipated, had lost none of their power to 
wound. No pains were spared to emphasise the fact 
that the First Prince of the Blood was to be looked on, 
henceforward, as a traitor and an outcast. His property 
had been seized, and occupants appointed by the King 
had taken possession of his castles. Chantilly was over- 
run by the Royalist troops, who sacked the gardens, and 
destroyed the collection of foreign birds in the Prince's 

1 B.N., February, 1653, Marigny to Lenet. 


aviaries ; one of Lenet's correspondents mentions l a 
pelican, the only one of its kind in France ', among the 
victims. Defections, more serious in practical effect 
than such lawless depredations, were reported from 
Bordeaux ; Conti, by persistent and scandalous dis- 
regard of public opinion, had lost all authority, and the 
citizens were rapidly tending towards loyal submission. 
A detailed impression of Conde 's state of mind, and of 
his relations with his allies, in these early stages of his 
exile, may be found in a letter addressed to Mazarin 
by a certain Pere Leon, a confidential agent in Paris. 
An obscure French officer of the allied army, ' tired of 
serving the wrong side, and disappointed of promotion ', 
had deserted from the camp, sought out Pere Leon, 
and given him information at first-hand. Conde, 
according to this authority, was preparing to make 
himself master of the frontier by the ' mi-careme ' 
(March, 1653), and would then advance upon Paris 
with a powerful army ; maintaining, when he spoke 
of this design, " that he would cause men, one day, to 
show the place where Paris had stood ". " Those 
who encourage this idea, and who do the most harm, 
are best received by him ", the letter continues, " what- 
ever their station may be. He speaks seldom of the 
King, and with a fair show of respect ; but he makes 
mention constantly, even in public, of his great and 
acknowledged enmity to the Queen, and above all, 
of his devouring hatred towards the Parisians, since 
the time when he left them ; as also towards MM. de 
Bar, Navailles, and others. He makes game of the 
Ministers, and declares that he will be revenged on 
them ". The imprisonment of Retz, it is added, gave 
Conde great satisfaction ; " he boasts of having foretold 
it to him before leaving Paris ". The Spanish officers, 
and those of Lorraine, are said to ' treat M. le Prince 
with great respect ', and only one among them spoken 
of as the Comte de Lenneville * is supposed to be in his 
confidence. The Prince is " well pleased when French 
officers leave him ; he seems to fear having them about 
him ; and rightly, considering the dangers to which 
he is exposed " ; this refers, apparently, to various 
rumoured plots for his assassination. " He keeps no 
state at table, but comes and goes as he pleases. His 

1 The name should probably be Ligniville ; the Comte de Ligniville 
was a Lieutenant-General in the army of Lorraine. 

1 65 3] PERE LON TO MAZARIN 421 

greatest expenditure is in the payment of spies, whom 
he sends in every direction. He is in no want of money, 
and says himself that the Duke of Lorraine has lent him 
400,000 francs ; but this last fact is doubted by many. 
Nothing passes, either at Court, in Paris, or in the army, 
that is not speedily reported to M. le Prince by his spies ; 
four of his valets serve him in this way " ; l then follow, 
in conclusion, the names of these men, and of places 
where they might be waylaid on their travels. 

Many of the feelings attributed to Conde, by Pere 
Leon's informant, were no doubt genuine enough. 
His invincible respect for ' la personne du Roi ', his 
hatred of the Queen, and his fury against the Parisians, 
were all alike well known and characteristic. That he 
was suspicious of any French officers who were not 

Eersonally known to him may have been true ; and 
e certainly affected indifference, or contempt, towards 
those who quitted his service. " The life they are obliged 
to lead in this country ", he wrote, " has frightened 
most men of quality so much, that they have left me " * 
But he was still closely surrounded by a small band 
of his countrymen, the friends of earlier days ; La 
Tremoille, Guitaut, Jarze, and some others, were his 
constant associates. Boutteville was detained at Bel- 
legarde by his duties as Governor, but when, after a 
heroic defence, he was compelled to yield the town 
to a Royalist force (June, 1653), he made haste to join 
the Prince, who received him with open arms. The 
impression that Conde was well supplied with money 
can only have been conveyed by sheer bravado ; his 
letters to Lenet show him to have been on the verge 
of destitution, and there is no reason to suppose that 
the Duke's loan was any more to be relied on than his 
other promises. The difficulty of raising funds alter- 
nates, as a subject of complaint, in the Prince's corre- 
spondence, with the inefficiency of the Spanish troops, 
and the duplicity of their officers, as well as of the 
authorities in Madrid ; " who ", he wrathfully declares, 
1 have alike failed me at every crisis, although the 
Count (Fuensaldagna) promised me a thousand times 
that I should be supported. I had a clear proof of 
their incompetence, or of their ill-will, before Bar-le-Duc, 
where the Cardinal himself was engaged. If they had 

1 * A.E., December, 1652. 

2 * B.N., Conde to Lenet, December 3, 1652. 


held to their word, I might have carried all before me. . . . 
Their policy is merely to keep me occupied, and to study 
their own advantage ; as to mine, they are completely 
indifferent. But I will not be deceived by them ; 
I protest as much, every day, and neither my humour, 
nor my interests, incline me to bear with them, if no 
effort is made to maintain these troops. ... I am 
willing to be of service to them ; but they shall treat me 
as the head of a powerful party, and not merely as a 
General in their pay ". This last phrase would seem 
to be not much more than a figure of speech : " They owe 
me more than 500,000 crowns, besides what should be 
paid to you (Lenet) at Bordeaux. I am left without a 
penny, in the most forlorn state you can imagine ". 1 
To La Tremoille, who had raised troops at his own private 
expense, Conde wrote in apology for offering such 
scanty remuneration : " I am ashamed to have no more 
than 3000 ' patagons ' to offer you ; but when you 
consider the payment I have received, compared to the 
sums I have given to the troops, and the little that 
remains to me for my own establishment which is not 
only unpretending, but scarcely decent you will allow 
that I can do no more ". 2 

Lenet, by the Prince's orders, melted down plate, 
and sold jewels, to supply the needs of the family. He 
had little consolation to offer, of either a public or private 
nature. ' The news of my second son's illness is causing 
me great distress ", wrote M. le Prince, in answer to 
later tidings. " I have had no letters on the subject 
from M. le Breton " (the doctor in attendance) ; ""tell 
him to write to me fully, and to give me his opinion. 
I leave it to you to see that nothing is spared for the 
child's recovery. If the plague continues at Bordeaux, 
my elder son must leave off attending the College ; but 
he is not to discontinue his studies on that account. 
Let my wife know that I am much concerned to hear of 
her illness ". The Princess was allowed no voice as to 
the disposal of her jewels. " My wife will make no 
difficulties ; but, in case she should do so, I send an 
order to Madame de Touryille " (her lady-in-waiting), 
" who will place them all in your hand ". 3 On other 
personal matters, however, it must be admitted that 

1 * B.N., December 26, 1652. 

2 La Tremoille, Prince de Tarente, Mtmoires. 

3 B.N., April 17, 1653. 


the Prince showed no want of consideration ; the terms 
in which he first proposes a reduction of his wife's 
establishment would not have disgraced a far more 
affectionate husband. " You (Lenet) might even suggest 
to my wife, if she should happen to have too many maids 
in attendance, that she might dispense with a few of 
them, merely during this time of need ; but it should be 
done without vexing, or urging, her ; and you must give 
assurance, in my name, to all who are dismissed, that 
I will reinstate them as soon as these troubles are past "- 1 
Further, he upholds the Princess's authority, in his 
own absence, on questions connected with the Due 
d'Enghien. Some attempt had apparently been made 
by the Duke's tutor, the Comte d'Auteuil, to take 
advantage of the situation, and to conduct a separate 
establishment on lines of his own ; but the suggestion 
was promptly scouted by M. le Prince, who pronounced 
it l extremely ridiculous ' that the child's household 
should be ordered ' as though he were twenty-five years 
old '. 2 " My son is to live with my wife ", was his 
decree; " M. d'Auteuil, so long as he is with them, is 
simply to do his duty, and not to take upon himself 
the direction of my son's household, in which I wish 
my wife alone to be mistress ". 3 D'Auteuil probably 
deserved the rebuke ; but it seems evident that the 
Princess, at this time, was scarcely capable of carrying 
out such a charge. Lenet 's next letter announces 
the death of the Due de Bourbon, and records no 
improvement in the health of Madame la Princesse. 
" Pray tell me, without subterfuge, the nature of my 
wife's illness ", Conde wrote, soon afterwards ; (( and 
tell me, also, the doctor's opinion of her, so that I may 
know what I ought to hope ; I beg of you to relieve me 
of my present anxiety ". 4 This was not the first time 
that the Prince had asked for such information ; his 
tone seems to point to an element of mystery, which, 
in view of later events, it is impossible to ignore. 

By the end of March, Conde had left Stenay, and 
was making active preparations for the coming cam- 
paign. The design, reported by Pere Leon, of reducing 
the whole frontier to submission by the ' mi-careme ', 
cannot have been seriously contemplated after Fuen- 
saldagna's withdrawal, and the loss of Bar-le-Duc ; it 

1 * B.N., May 14, 1653. * * B.N., Conde to Lenet, May 14, 1653. 

3 * B.N., Conde to Lenet, May 31, 1653. 4 B.N., May 3, 1653. 


would have been impossible, under such circumstances, 
to continue operations throughout the winter. The 
Prince was resolved not to embark on a fresh campaign 
without having exacted a personal promise of support 
from the Archduke Leopold ; and a formal meeting was 
arranged to take place, towards the end of April, at 
Brussels. Conde 's followers awaited the result of 
this first interview with some trepidation. They knew 
that M. le Prince was entirely dependent upon the 
Spanish Government for the means of maintaining his 
present position ; they knew, also, that he was indig- 
nant at the treatment he had received, and most un- 
likely to approach the Archduke in a conciliatory 
spirit. The preliminaries to the meeting were highly 
unpromising. Conde was delayed, on his journey to 
Brussels, by a brief, but violent, attack of illness, 
from which he had by no means recovered when 
messengers arrived, sent by the Archduke, to discuss the 
eternal question of precedence. Would M. le Prince, 
they asked, consent to give place to His Imperial 
Highness in the coming ceremonies? Several minor 
advantages were offered in exchange for this con- 
cession. Conde answered without hesitation ; " more 
proudly ", to quote a writer of the time, " than in the 
days of his greatest prosperity ". l "I am a Prince of 
the Blood of France ", he said, " and, in that capacity, 
the utmost I can allow is that there should be equality 
between myself and the Archduke ; son and brother 
of an Emperor as he is. You can decide the matter as 
you please ; but if, within twelve hours, my offer is not 
accepted, I shall leave the country ". In justice to the 
Prince it must be added that the feeling which prompted 
these words was not mere self-importance ; it was, in 
part at least, a sense of responsibility towards the race 
of Bourbon, represented in his person ; a race whose 
dignity, as he conceived it, was perhaps the only thing 
he could be said to hold sacred. The Archduke had 
hitherto shown himself scarcely less tenacious in such 
matters ; but, on this occasion, as Conde 's early 
biographer records with a burst of patriotism, " the 
pride of Austria trembled and gave way before the 
firmness of France I " 2 In other words, Conde, penni- 

1 Pere Bergier, La Vie et Us Actions de Louis de Bourbon, Prince de 

2 Desormeaux, Histoire de Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conde. 


less and discredited, was still too valuable an ally to be 
dispensed with ; he must be curbed, but not estranged ; 
and the Archduke, believing him capable of acting on 
his threat, agreed to waive the claims of Imperial 
rank. Two or three days later, the Prince, though 
still weak, was able to continue his journey ; a state 
coach was sent to convey him, and he was met outside 
the gates of Brussels, by all the chief nobles of the 
country, who formed an escort. " The citizens received 
him with more enthusiasm than I can describe ", wrote 
Caillet triumphantly ; " the Archduke came out to 
greet him, and paid him a thousand compliments. His 
Highness was given the right hand place on all 
occasions, and when they exchange visits they meet on 
equal terms ". 1 

Conde's hopes were revived by the prospects which 
the Government at Brussels laid before him. The 
possibilities of a peace treaty had been suggested to 
him, even as late as December, 1652, by the indefatigable 
Princess Palatine ; but though he persisted in the 
declaration that, provided his own terms were accepted, 
he was ' by no means irreconcilable ' with the French 
Government, it is evident that his strongest feeling, 
at this time, was the desire for revenge. 2 The forces 
which the Archduke could now place at his disposal 
seemed to promise him swift satisfaction. Five army 
corps were reported ready to take the field. Of these, 
the first was to be commanded by Conde himself, the 
four remaining, by Fuensaldagna, Clinchamp, the 
Spanish General Garcies, and the Comte de Guise ; Duke 
Charles, tired of active service, had appointed the 
last named, as a Prince of his own House, to command 
the troops of Lorraine. The total strength of the 
allies was estimated by the Prince at close on thirty 
thousand men. This powerful army was to advance 
across the frontier in two main divisions ; one following 
the valley of the Oise, the other, that of the Aisne. 
A junction was to be effected north of the Aisne, and 
the whole force, mighty enough to overcome all resist- 
ance, would then advance upon Paris. Conde wrote 

1 B.N., Caillet to Lenet, May 3. 

2 ' Au nom de Dieu, desabuses vous tous, une fois pour toutes, sur cela ' 
(the question of peace) ' et n'envisages jamais d'accommodement que 
comme chose fort eloignee, car toutes les fois que vous vous flateres, et 
que vous laisses flater les autres de certe esperance, c'est le moyen de 
ruiner nos affaires ' (B.N., Conde to Lenet, December 3, 1652). 


confidently of opening the campaign at the end of 
May; he had yet to learn what the joint capacities 
of the Archduke, Fuensaldagna, and the Duke of 
Lorraine could accomplish in the way of delays. June 
passed, and half July, and still no definite offensive 
movement had been made. The reluctance of the 
Spanish Government to sanction any plan of campaign 
which was likely to result in personal advantage to the 
Prince was displayed, not by declared opposition, but 
by a series of petty excuses for inaction, which were even 
less easy to meet. The Lorrainers, for their part, held 
to the custom of refusing to march without direct orders 
from their Duke ; and few things were more difficult 
than to obtain a prompt or decided answer from Duke 
Charles on any subject. To what straits Conde found 
himself reduced may be judged from the tone of the 
letter which he addressed, at this time, to Cromwell, 
and in which he does violence to the strongest instincts 
and principles of his race. This letter was written at 
the special instigation of Barriere, the Prince's agent in 
London. Cromwell had almost reached the zenith of 
his power ; a few months were still to pass before he 
assumed the title of Lord Protector, but the dissolution 
of the Long Parliament (April, 1653) had left him an 
absolute ruler in all but name. Conde had already 
sent offers of alliance and requests for support, but in 
terms which Barriere judged unsuitable. " It would be 
most advisable ", he wrote to the Prince, " that Your 
Highness should write to him (Cromwell) to congratulate 
him on what has lately taken place, but the letter should 
be differently expressed. Your Highness must con- 
sider him as the ruler of England ". 1 Barriere under- 
takes that the letter shall be seen by no one, except 
the person to whom it is addressed ; but he insists that 
it shall show perception of the fact that " M. de Crom- 
well is the most powerful man in Europe ". Thus 
urged, Conde abandoned the tone which had proved 
successful with the Archduke, and expressed himself in 
terms which he had certainly never thought to use 
towards the descendant of Cambridgeshire squires ; 
concluding, after fervent congratulations : "I implore 
you to place entire faith in whatever the Sieur de 
Barriere tells you on my behalf, and to make a prompt 
decision, favourable to my interests. I shall never lose 

1 A.C., May 23. 


the sense of my obligations towards you "- 1 The 
humiliation was in vain ; for, in Cromwell's opinion, a 
Prince who had managed his own affairs so ill was 
scarcely likely to be worth assistance. 2 

Turenne took instant advantage of his enemies' 
hesitation. He had noted the strategical importance 
of Rethel, as the key to the valley of the Aisne ; a post 
whence, as he says, " M. le Prince could hold open a 
line of communication with the Spanish Netherlands, 
on the one hand, and with Luxembourg on the other ". 3 
Siege was laid to Rethel ; Persan, the Governor, capitu- 
lated after a few days' resistance, but secured favourable 
terms for himself and his garrison, and was able to join 
the Prince at St. Hubert, in the Ardennes. Conde still 
held Ste. Menehould and Clermont, but Turenne had 
gained an important point ; with Rethel as a base of 
operations, he could force the allies to abandon the 
scheme of an advance along the valley of the Aisne ; 
he could even, when necessary, cut off supplies from 
the invading force, and check the Prince's advance, 
without meeting him in the field. Years of warfare 
had devastated the frontier provinces, and no sustenance 
for an army could be drawn from them ; Turenne, 
strong in the belief that,